Are We Becoming A Generation Of Child-Haters?
“Well. We lost another one,” is what my friend said when we received another incoming baby announcement from a common girlfriend. Before I could even think of what I was saying, I had a kneejerk reaction to say, “Oh noooo.” That’s what we said when we got the news that a friend who we love is reproducing. We didn’t say, “So cute!” or “So exciting!” We just started thinking about all of the downsides that come with a friend having children. I started to feel bad because I realized I react like this a lot. In fact, in small ways, I notice myself treating children as problems rather than blessings. And all my childless friends agree with me, and even celebrate my comments. Since today, women don’t feel as much pressure to procreate, have we overcorrected so much that we’re killing off our maternal instincts entirely? Are we becoming a generation of child-hating women? Here are all the ways I see it transpiring.
I’ve been receiving a lot of wedding invitations that explicitly state, “No kids allowed.” Well, they may say something more delicate like, “Please leave guests under the age of 12 at home” or “Unfortunately we will not provide childcare on site and ask that parents arrange other childcare.” Translation: we don’t want your children running around, messing up our centerpieces, screaming during speeches, and spilling catering trays.
No-kids-allowed dinner parties
I also get invited to dinner parties where the hosts have asked that guests with kids don’t bring said kids. I don’t have a kid so it isn’t an issue for me. But, sometimes I can see how it would be hurtful for a mom to go to a dinner party of just eight or 10 people and think, “I really couldn’t have had my little one with me? She’s a part of me.”
Fewer restaurants with kids’ menus
Fewer and fewer restaurants seem to be offering kids menus, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one hand out coloring books and crayons without parents explicitly asking for them. Restaurants are becoming more polarized: there are those for families that, really, only families will enjoy and those that aren’t for kids. Not much in between.
We disdain biological clock talks
If a girlfriend talks about wanting to meet someone soon because her biological clock is ticking, we all groan, and say something about the patriarchy or feminism. We’ve somehow turned biological clock talk into a political discussion. In reality, women do only have until a certain age to have good chances of a healthy and easy pregnancy. But we look down on those who talk about that.
Sarcastic signs about kids in stores
You’ve seen the signs in stores and cafes. They say things like, “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a puppy.” Vendors want to get ahead of the issue of misbehaved children running rampant around their stores.
We say RIP about new moms
When we hear a friend of ours is pregnant, we make some sort of a sign of the cross, or kiss our hand and send a peace sign to the sky as if to say, “RIP. We’ve lost another good one.” We equate having a child with losing your social life. Maybe it is us childless ones who make it that way by leaving moms out.
We’re getting hysterectomies younger
I’ve actually noticed an increase in women getting hysterectomies quite young. They due it to avoid possible health complications down the line—perhaps uterine cancer runs in the family—but they’re very quick to make the swift decision of getting rid of all their reproductive organs.
Childlessness goes on the resume
I have friends who will tell me that, in job interviews, they proudly promote the fact that they don’t have children, knowing that employers view that favorably. They know that the fact that they won’t ask to leave early to pick kids up from school or tend to a sick child is a high mark for them.
We openly call it selfish due to overpopulation
We’re rather open about calling people selfish for having children, due to our world’s overpopulation problem. We do have an overpopulation problem, but we talk about each individual friend having a new kid as if they are the ones causing the entire issue.
We assume everyone has kids for the wrong reasons
We’re also rather open about assuming people have children for the wrong reasons, like out of boredom, out of vanity, or out of some attempt to save their marriage. There are individuals who have kids for the wrong reasons, but I’ve noticed an uptick in people who assume everyone has kids for the wrong reasons—in fact, that there is no right reason.
We’re using the family restrooms
I see plenty of people who don’t have children going into the family restroom if the regular one is busy. And I’ll overhear them saying, “Why should I have to wait to use a perfectly good restroom, all because I don’t have a child?”
We openly discuss how expensive they are
I don’t know how many standup comedy specials contain a joke comparing the cost of raising a child to the cost of many other things. It seems pretty socially acceptable to talk about kids solely as financial burdens.
We attribute our youthfulness to childlessness
Women who don’t have children will brazenly say that the reason they look good is that they don’t have kids. Or that the reason someone else looks, um, not so good is because she does have kids.
We ask, “Is she bringing her kid?”
Friends will immediately say, “Is she bringing her child?” (the heavy implication being I hope she isn’t) when they learn of a mom-friend joining the party.
We refuse to alter our behavior
Even I can be a bit of a poor sport about this. I become frustrated that I can’t curse because kids are around or can’t smoke because kids are around. “I’m not the one who made the kid,” I might say. But, the truth is that these friends make all sorts of accommodations for me all of the time.