Across the Web, a frequent complaint of women without children involves the stereotypes they confront from family, friends, co-workers and strangers. Recently, the blogging NotMom at DINKS Childfree devoted a lengthy post to the subject, and gave some cyberlove to The NotMom.com, too.
As a childfree woman, that blog’s author has deliberately chosen a life without children. (DINKS=Double Income No Kids). Through her blog, I’ve learned that she’s currently going through a divorce and adjusting to the dating life. (When, exactly, is the best time to tell a new guy that you never want to have kids?)
Many of the bloggers without kids that I’ve connected with decided to raise their voices online to explain what life in the minority is like for them. A few are deliberately divisive, placing so-called “breeders” on the other side of a high, high wall, but most are just tired of erasing stereotypes person-by-person and licking their wounds alone.
At DINKS Childfree, the erroneous assumptions cited included all the usual suspects, and though she writes for a By-Choice audience, I’m guessing that NotMoms-by-chance (also referred to as by-happenstance or by-circumstance) have heard many of them as well.
People who don’t want children may be called selfish, cold, and focused only on themselves. They will surely “change their mind one day.” Women who don’t give birth can be viewed as positively strange by the majority of their neighbors, and straight NotMoms tell me some people assume, “Well, she must be gay.” (As though lesbians don’t have kids!)
The most baffling stereotype I’ve heard is that any woman can have a child if she really wants one, so there’s really no such thing as a by-chance NotMom. Period. Adoption. Surrogates. Fosters. IVF. Easy, peasy, problem solved. Geez, how did we not know that?
The DINKS post concluded that stereotypes generally represent considerable pressure on women without kids to conform to traditional standards. If you don’t want a child, c’mon and give it a try. If you did want one, well, go out and get one! DINKS‘ blogger is bewildered by such thinking, and so am I. She asks:
“If I say that I do not want children, why would you want me to have them? Would I be the best parent I could be if from the start I didn’t want to be a parent?”
I do believe there’s a gram of truth in most stereotypes, meaning that somewhere on this big, blue marble theres a person to fit whatever tale that’s been concocted. Doesn’t matter if it’s about other races, nationalities, religions, sexual persuasions, or, women without children. But, in almost every instance, the stereotype is only an assumption, and it is quite wrong.