Being child-free makes you “cold, calculating, sad and mad”, apparently

They say you learn something new every day, and today I learned something about me. I learned I am “cold, calculating, sad and mad.” Also “lacking in essential humanity”. Oh, and just plain “weird”.  Can’t forget that one!

Why am I all of these things, I hear you ask? (OK, not really, but let’s pretend.) Because I don’t want to have children. And according to a certain columnist for the Daily Fail Mail (a newspaper I hate with every fibre of my being), this makes me all of the above, and more.

I read Carol Sarler’s piece on Why bosses are right to distrust women who don’t have children this morning (I know, I should know better to read anything in the Mail, but there was a link on Twitter, I clicked…), and spent the next ten minutes or so ranting angrily to anyone who would listen (sorry, Terry and Rubin) about how women like Carol are the reason we’ll never have true equality with men: because as long as women insist on putting so much time and energy into tearing each other down, calling each other names and being holier-than-thou about every little choice other women make, we’ll always just seem like a bunch of cats fighting in a sack. And we will never, ever  be taken seriously.

Here’s the part where I prove my point by tearing Carol Sarler down and being holier-than-thou. But where to start?

How about at the very beginning:

“Much as I like to trumpet the importance of a woman’s right to choose all things at all times, [says Carol] there’s one choice I simply cannot understand: the choice of an otherwise sane and healthy woman not to have children…if she says she hasn’t a shred of maternal feeling in her, moreover, if she says she would prefer to concentrate on her career and that a child would only get in the way of it, then my head might acknowledge her right to do so. But my heart whispers: ‘Lady, you’re weird.”

It’s interesting, this, because when I hear another woman say she’d like to have children, I think… well, nothing, really. Partly because it’s none of my business, but also because I learned something a long time ago that I think is a basic truth. It’s this: we are not all the same. Women are not all the same. Men are not all the same. We want different things, like different things, are good and bad at different things. Different. It’s what makes us spechul. And as far as I’m concerned, as long as people aren’t actually hurting anyone else with their choices, I don’t really care how they choose to live their lives. (Unless they choose to do it to the accompaniment of music from tinny speakers. Then they can all go to hell.)

Me not having children doesn’t hurt anyone.

From the way some people choose to react, though, you’d really think it did. Being child free is one of the last great taboos (Well, that and being ginger, obviously. I win at taboos!) and there’s a surprisingly large number of people out there who’ve failed to grasp that basic truth I mentioned above, and who feel that unless everyone else in the world chooses to live their lives in exactly the same way they do, then they must be “mad”, and it’s probably a good idea to call them names. Because being derogatory about people who aren’t harming anyone ISN’T mad or “weird” in any way, you see. It’s important that we’re clear about this.

Lots of people do this. I’ve actually lost count of the number of times people have called me “unnatural”, “weird” or any other variety of unpleasant names, just because they’ve discovered that I don’t want to have children. (And trust me, such is the strength of feeling about this subject that I don’t generally offer that information up unless pushed.) I’ve been told repeatedly that I WILL change my mind. Well, I’m not going to deny that that could happen – of course it could – but so far the signs aren’t encouraging, and quite apart from anything else, the sheer rudeness and presumptuousness of the statement takes my breath away. When will I be considered old enough to know my own mind, I wonder? Why do people who’ve only just met me think they know me better than I know myself? Why is such a very personal choice even up for debate? If someone tells me they’ve decided to have a child, I’m not going to say, “Ooh, are you quite sure about that? I’m pretty sure you’ll change your mind!” Because a) it’s none of my business what other people do with their lives and b) it’s none of my business. Really.

My reproductive intentions, though, ARE considered to be everyone else’s business. (And by “my” I mean “women in general”).  So, really, I shouldn’t be surprised by Carol Sarler’s hatred for the child-free: it’s symptomatic of a society which likes to control women by persuading them they are “mad” or “bad” if they fail to conform to the “norm”, whether they want to or not.

Even so, I had to question just what planet Carol actually inhabits when I read this bit:

“Besides which, in my experiences both as a colleague and an employer, I have found that mothers almost always bring something extra to the job, to the benefit of all.

It’s not the mothers, for a start, who are going to turn up late and hungover after a night on the razz; they’ll have been up, dressed and alert for hours, having cooked a family breakfast and delivered their children to school. On time. “

Wow. Way to completely generalise as a way of getting attention, Carol! Bravo! And of course, she’s right: all mothers are exactly the same. And all non-mothers are exactly the same. I must’ve somehow missed the memo telling me that because I don’t have a child, I’m supposed to be “on the razz” every night. If I’d only known that, I wouldn’t have dutifully turned up at work every day ON TIME, and stayed late most days – often because my colleagues who had children had to leave early to pick them up from school/take them to an activity/wanted to spend time with them.

I’m not going to be so stupid as to suggest that ALL mothers are like this: of course not. BUT. When I worked in an office, I was frequently asked to come in early, stay late, work weekends, change my holidays or take on extra duties, all to accommodate colleagues who insisted that their children came first. I should emphasise that I don’t blame them for that. If I had children, I’d be exactly the same. In fact, even without children, I am exactly the same: my family comes first. Always.

Again, though, I seem to have missed a memo somewhere, because according to Carol Sarler all women are EITHER wonderful, warm-hearted mothers OR cold, calculating career-women. There is no middle ground, which confuses me, because I’m neither a mother or a career woman. I work because I need the money. I’d rather not have to work, to be honest. But I don’t want children either, so I don’t seem to fit into Carol’s neat stereotypes at all. I somehow don’t think I’m the only one.

“It’s not the mothers, usually, who run the office bitch-fest.”

And it’s not the non-mothers who write nasty, bitchy articles, calling other women hugely offensive names just because they’ve made a personal choice that affects no-one but them, is it? Oh, kettle, you’re looking very black today!

“You cannot be a mother without knowing something about selflessness, compassion, generosity, commitment, fierce loyalty and plain hard work.”

I know, and Mother Teresa was just a hold, hard, calculating bitch, wasn’t she? That weirdo better not be getting a sainthood, because, after all, she wasn’t a mother: what would she know about selflessness or compassion? Also, Gandhi? Used to rock up to work drunk every morning, FACT.

And being a mother may well teach you all about selflessness, etc, but it apparently doesn’t preclude you from being judgemental, narrow-minded, prejudiced or the kind of person who’ll bad-mouth others just because they’re not exactly the same as you. Which is a shame.

Seriously, though. I mean, SERIOUSLY. I’m not denying that mothers are great. Sure they are. But are we REALLY so narrow-minded as to believe that they, and they alone, are capable of selflessness or compassion? That only mothers know what it’s like to work hard  or be loyal? REALLY?

And what about the men in all of this? They’re not mothers, so we have to assume they’re also cold, calculating weirdos. Being a father just doesn’t count. After all, you never hear a man being asked how he intends to “juggle” fatherhood and career, do you? And you never see a child-free man being lambasted for his choice, told he WILL change his mind, or being called “unnatural”, do you?

No, because it’s only women who are made to feel like failures, no matter what decision they make in life. It’s only women who get to be ALWAYS WRONG, no matter how hard they try to get it right. And it’s only women who take such unadulterated pleasure in bitching about each other. The Sisterhood:  ur doin it rong.

The last word* goes to our old friend Carol, who has single-handedly just set the feminist movement back about 50 years:

“So three cheers for the employers who are catching on, the ones who don’t want to people their workforces with the cold, the calculating, the sad and the mad. The only question is: what took you so long? “

Indeed. Three cheers for ignorance, prejudice, bullying and discrimination! There’s no need to give them a warm welcome back to the workplace, though, Carol: thanks to women like you, they never actually left.

 

(*Whoops, no, it looks like the last word went to me!)

 

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82 Comments

  • Camilla says:

    That writer is well known for writing appalling articles (have a look for the one on her friend’s autistic child if you dare. She closes with – to paraphrase – he should never have been born at all. Nice). And you’re right, whilst we have women sniping like that, how are we ever going to be viewed equally. Well done for the sisterhood, Carol! Still it is the DM, a paper I have successfully weaned myself from reading.

    Btw, when I worked in an office and had to shoot off early to pick up my son, it wasn’t a choice to spend time with him. It was a choice of him being stood outside the school gates alone at five years old or me pick him up or take holiday time during the most expensive peak season because who the hell provides six weeks of ad hoc childcare? Being a mother tends to destroy your career and make your colleagues hate you (even if you do do all your work) which is a large part of why I’m self-employed. My partner on the other hand doesn’t even seem to notice that we’ve had children.

    Anyway, I’ve had enough children for both of us and think a childfree lifestyle sounds rather nice.

    Camilla´s last blog post..Why isn’t life like the movies?

    • Amber says:

      I did have a quick scan of the titles of her other articles, and notice the one about autistic children, which I decided to miss, because I was already angry enough! I noticed she'd also written one called "Good news: women DO grow out of bitching!" Apparently that hasn't happened for Carol herself, though…

      And yes, I should probably have made it clearer that I don't blame parents at all for taking off early for the kids, etc: like I said, I'd do exactly the same (hell, I'd do the same if it was my dog, never mind my child!), and I know it's often because there literally isn't another choice. I just took exception to this idea that mothers are all angels in the workplace while the childfree are all rolling in drunk every morning and being irresponsible. (Which actually doesn't fit in with the hard-bitten career-woman stereotype either, come to think of it). And I don't think the childfree are perfect workers either for that matter: I think we all just do the best we can in our own particular circumstances – it's just a shame we have to judge each other so harshly all the time!

      • Camilla says:

        Quite agree, thank God we are self-employed. There really should be better flexible working, people would be so much happier.

        <abbr>Camilla´s last blog post..Why isn't life like the movies?</abbr>

  • Oh god. What a despicable article (Carol’s not yours!). Am totally with you on hating the Daily Mail. It’s really is so misogynist and vile. I also agree that it’s a strange world we live in when someone can lambast you for such a personal choice. I’m often told by relatives, well-meaning friends, random people that me and the other half should have children by now as if we’re doing something wrong or letting the side down. (The strange thing is that no-one else ever gives this chat/lecture to the other half!) We’re not married either which is another one of those personal things that people feel they can lecture you about too! Aren’t we awful? ;)

    Zoe, Conversation Pieces´s last blog post..Wallpaper for a grey day

    • Amber says:

      I always try to avoid reading it, but sometimes I just can't help clicking on those links, even although I know they will inevitably end up infuriating me. It's like the impulse to look at a car crash…

      And I know what you mean about the questioning. We get it all the time, and it's just so intrusive. I mean, what if we were desperately trying to have a child, but having no luck? What if I'd had a miscarriage or something and someone walks up and demands to know why I'm not pregnant? Horrible. I normally reply by saying, "Why don't you have a Bichon Frise yet?" and then telling them that they WILL want one some day, just wait and see! It normally goes over their heads, though.

      • That nearly went over my head too… and then I guessed that was your dog ;) Good retort. Not sure that would work as well for me since I have crazy moggies (one of them is half feral, half pedigree and the other a farm cat that look like a fox). My usual excuse as to why (currently) I prefer cats to babies is that you can't laugh when the baby falls off the couch and gets trapped in a box

        <abbr>Zoe, Conversation Pieces´s last blog post..Wallpaper for a grey day</abbr>

  • Steph says:

    I don’t know what to say to this except to give you a great big round of applause *gives great big round of applause*. Like you, I am most assuredly not a fan of the Daily Mail but this is even worse than usual. As with most things in life, the decision to have children or not is a very personal matter of preference and circumstance. I can’t stand this idea that there is some kind ideal way in which we all ‘should’ be living – whatever happened to diversity and being able to choose for yourself? I still haven’t decided whether or not I want kids one day (leaning more towards no than yes, though) but I know that neither one is the objectively ‘right’ decision, simply the decision that is right for me.
    Let’s face it, if motherhood turned every woman into a hardworking, selfess compassion machine we wouldn’t have a single case of maternal abuse or neglect – and I’m afraid we all know how common these sorts of things are. If more people seriously sat down and thought about whether or not they were fundamentally suited to raising a child then perhaps we might all be better off. I’d rather Carol Sarler thought I was ‘weird’ than feel pressurised into having a child I didn’t want and then spending the rest of my life feeling that I’d made the wrong decision.
    Anyway, in summation the world is a rich tapestry of diversity and there’s plenty of room for both mothers and non-mothers and neither choice is inherently better than the other.
    But you phrased it much better than I did ;)

    • Amber says:

      EXACTLY. And I think you phrases it pretty damn well, actually – totally agree about the “ideal life” thing. I often wonder what these people would like me to do, exactly. Judging by the things they say, it seems clear that they’d like me to go and have a child, even although I really don’t want one, and doubt I’d be able to look after it well, just so I can be like them, and conform to this mysterious way in which everyone “should” live. And that really puzzles me, because it seems to me to be a no-brainer that it’s better for children to be born to people who really want them, and who feel capable of raising them, as opposed to people who really DON’T want them, and are just having them because someone else has told them they should. Utterly, utterly bizarre.

  • Siany says:

    Great post. I wrote about this very thing (again inspired by the Daily Mail) on Dollymix earlier this week:

    http://www.dollymix.tv/2009/05/childless_then_its…

    Having a child isn't a right. It's a privilege. It's not one I ever imagine I'll be ready for. I'm pretty selfish. I don't mean that in a bad way, I just like being able to put myself first. I don't think I could handle the responsibility of taking care of another person for a gazillion years. But I'm so impressed with women who can. And I really feel for the woman who would love to have the choice to have children but can't. Are they still cold and calculating?

    I'm saddened that there are some women out there who still think stamping on a woman's choice (NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS LADY!) makes them feel better about themselves. That's the real issue with this woman. It makes me sad. I can't imagine that she's very happy with herself, and her having children isn't going to change that.

    <abbr>Siany´s last blog post..Etsy pick: Golden snitch necklace</abbr>

    • Amber says:

      Ooh, I'll go and have a look at Dollymix as soon as I've typed this :)

      The "its selfish not to have children" argument is one that has always puzzled me. Not because I think it's UNselfish to not have children: I feel exactly the same as you – I KNOW I'm selfish, and I know I wouldn't deal well with the responsibility of a child. But I think the decision to have children is mostly selfish too, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I don't know a single person who has decided to have children out of a selfless desire to do their bit for the survival of the species. In fact, everyone I know who has children, has them because they WANTED them. So it's all about them, basically. And I honestly don't think that's a bad thing. We all just want to be happy in life, after all: if doing the things that make you happy is selfish, then so be it. Better that than everyone being selfless and miserable, surely.

    • Amber says:

      p.s. Tried to comment on your Dollymix article, but the comments are broken – great post, though.

      • Siany says:

        Thanks! Comments will hopefully be back up and running very soon!

        <abbr>Siany´s last blog post..Etsy pick: Golden snitch necklace</abbr>

  • Hayley says:

    Bravo for such a well-written rebuttal to this obviously insane, bigoted woman. Choosing not to have children IN NO WAY makes one any of those insults listed, just as becoming a mother does not make one a saint. I know plenty of women who got knocked up, but refused to grow up (though I will admit just as freely, that there are plenty where that is not the case). Like you said, people are different and make different choices in life. Why does she think it is an effective use of her time to judge others?

    Hayley´s last blog post..Up to No Good

    • Amber says:

      I know – if it had appeared in other newspaper, I’d have assumed it was a joke. Sadly, though, the Daily Mail is full of these kind of attitudes – it constantly amazes me that it even still exists.

  • Niina says:

    That woman is awful but it is true that some women just won't hire childless and single people. I once applied for a children's wear designer position at a company I had been interning already for six months. I didn't get it because I didn't have kids (and yes it was told to me directly). The person who was leaving didn't have any children, had less work experience, was three years younger than me BUT she was married.

    Luckily my family understands that I don't want to have kids. I am the oldest of all us cousins so naturally I was the designated babysitter/nanny. I never just looked after them for couple of hours, I did full 8 hour days. Since I was 11.

    • Amber says:

      Wow, is that even legal? I mean, I’m sure it does happen, but I’m surprised they’d be so blatant about it – sounds like a clear case of discrimination to me. And why do you need to have kids to be able to design clothes for them? Going by that reasoning, men shouldn’t be allowed to design clothes for women. Crazy!

      • Yunna says:

        It looks like it but there are some exceptions from the law.
        The employer can argue that this “selection” is due to the fact that having children for him is a “Genuine Occupational Qualification” – the job involves providing personal services to individuals promoting their welfare, education or similar personal services, which can most effectively be provided by someone who has children.

  • Diane says:

    Great piece, Amber. Sarler's article was SO offensive (then again, this is a woman who agreed that Paul Gasgoigne was right to slap his wife around, so what did I expect :http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1039953/Id-like-slap-professional-victim-Sheryl-Gascoigne—save-Paul-bother.html) – not just to childfree women, but to all of us. I can not understand why women have to tear each other down, and it really depresses me that we can't respect each other's choices. That a mainstream media organisation gleefully encourages this behaviour is upsetting and retrograde in the extreme.

    Awful confession: I was hired by the DM last year to write a piece. (I know, I sold my soul, but I needed cash, what can I say?) The commissioning ed sent me a link to some of Sarler's pieces as a sample of what to aim for. My piece was never published, presumably because I couldn't work myself up into such an offensive state of ire or condone domestic abuse. I take that as a great compliment now, let me tell you. What an endorsement – couldn't get published by the Daily Mail! I might have that on my gravestone or something. x

    <abbr>Diane´s last blog post..Katherine Moennig’s back on the box in Three Rivers and hitting the big screen with Bobby de Niro</abbr>

    • Amber says:

      Ah, yes, I think that can only be a compliment: no doubt your writing was too unbiased/lacking in prejudice to pass the Mail’s strict quality tests. Or maybe it was because you don’t have children? (Actually, that’s a point: I know Carol refers to herself as an “ex-boss”, but if she currently has any responsibility for other members of staff AT ALL, I’d expect her to be fired given her extreme prejudice against people who – shock horror! – don’t have kids.)

      I haven’t been able to bring myself to read any of her other stuff yet. I’m worried I’ll give myself a migraine :)

    • Amber says:

      OK, I cracked and read the link. Delightful. A true champion of women!

  • Hilary says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Excellent post!

    Hilary´s last blog post..The Thing Is…

  • Toni says:

    There is nothing I can add to this; you’ve completely shredded her ridiculous mouthing off. Brilliant :)

    Toni´s last blog post..IncompetentForce, ParcelFail… You Get The Idea

  • A-MEN sista. And thank you for using the term “child-free.” “Childless” reeks of something lost or removed – in other words, a childless woman is incomplete.

    As a child-free 29-year-old who volunteers at animal shelters, has spent many weekends mentoring gifted children and many years caring for disabled children, I would have to say that NO, BEING CHILD-FREE DOES NOT AN UNCOMPASSIONATE PERSON MAKE.

    Amanda Nicole´s last blog post..a springtime message

    • Amber says:

      Ah, but unless you're a mother, you just CAN'T be compassionate! You HAVE to be a big old meanie at all times! YOU ARE LETTING THE SIDE DOWN WITH YOUR "COMPASSION"! Now go and get drunk and do something "dangerously lacking in humanity", like all the rest of child-free people!

  • Siany says:

    Thinking about this some more (you bored of me yet?), the worst thing is that now, women everywhere feel the need to justify their choices. Not just to strangers, but to our peers and friends. Already women (including myself) have stated our reasons for not wanting kids – why should we need to justify our private decisions? We shouldn’t need to explain ourselves to anyone, but we are.

    Siany´s last blog post..Etsy pick: Golden snitch necklace

    • Toni says:

      God, I just did this exact thing in a blog post – and you’re totally right. I think it’s because the accusations levelled at child-free women are so vile; no one wants to be told they’re “unnatural” and “cold”, and it makes – me, at least – respond rather violently and with excessive ranting!

      It’s all pointless, mind. The child-free haters will just listen, nod politely and then tell me one day I’ll get that desire for a child and all my rationally thought out points will be chucked out of the window.

      We can’t win!

      Toni´s last blog post..The Child Free Choice: One Woman’s Reasons

    • Amber says:

      Exactly – and we don't just have to justify it once, we have to do it over, and over and over again, and even then, people will just smile knowingly and say, "you'll change your mind, wait and see!"

      I have a list of phone numbers of people I'm going to call the second the menopause starts, so I can go "ner-ner-ner-ner, told you so!" down the phone to them :)

      Interestingly, though, people who choose to HAVE children are almost never asked to justify their decison. Which is weird, given that the implications of bringing a whole new person into the world are so much bigger than the implications of NOT doing it.

  • Anna says:

    Ugh, that woman is awful. Someone should slap her.

    Anna´s last blog post..Anna’s guide to how not to be annoying on the road

  • Well said, Amber. I couldn’t have done better myself. What an incredibly offensive, ignorant woman.

    Equally irritating comments include ‘tick, tick – that biological clock is running out of time’ and comments intimating that being nearly 30 and not in a relationship makes you an emotionally stunted freak.

    You have to love the way that women support each others’ life choices.

    Sarah Clive´s last blog post..Things are a-happenin in the kitchen…

    • Amber says:

      Oh God, yes, any mention of a clock to me drives me mad! (Well, madder than I already am, given that I have no children, obviously). And yes, we women love to support each other: if it's not pressure to "settle down" and get married, it's pressure to have babies, and if it's not that, I'm sure it'd be someone else. It's weird, because I wouldn't try and pressurize someone into buying a dog if they said they really didn't think they could cope with one, let alone trying to persuade them to create a whole new unwanted person. The people who do this kind of thing obviously don't care much about the children they'd like to pressurre the childfree into having!

  • Nikki G says:

    Wow. Is a woman’s sole worth in life based on her desire to have children? I feel like I have time warped to the 16th century. I should have just forgone college and started spitting out kids when I hit puberty – not.

    • Amber says:

      Apparently so, yes. We should probably all just give up our right to vote, too, while we're in the business of reversing progress…

  • Jasmine says:

    Yea good point! I went on and read the article and was so disgusted that I had to leave a comment!! I just couldn’t help myself!
    Grrr!!!

    • Amber says:

      I actually managed to resist leaving a comment, because I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read them. And even if she does, I don’t think she’d care much about the opinion of a “mad” person like me!

  • Sabrina says:

    First off, agree with you 100% right. I could name dozens of mothers that have beaten, tortured, starved, murdered and sold their children for various reasons. I’d like to see where the compassion is. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the definition?

    Second, when someone (who is usually childed) tells me “Oh you’ll change your mind some day” I usually smile, look them in the eye and say “Oh, I’m sure you will too” that throws them off. Quite entertaining.

    Sabrina´s last blog post..Protected: Finally, Some Good News

    • Amber says:

      Haha, great response! I normally just start trying to convince them that one day they will desperately want a dog/pony/moneky/insert other creature I know they REALLY don't want in their lives. And I absolutely refuse to believe them when they say they won't!

  • Amy says:

    Three cheers for you, I really enjoyed your response.

    Never had I thought that not having children, in a time when world overpopulation is such an issue, could be selfish! According to Carol Saler I’ve got it all backwards!

    • Amber says:

      I know, and of course, people who DO have children purely because they WANT them, when there are so many orphaned children in the world desperately in need of a home – they're not selfish at all.

      (I don't think there's anything wrong with people wanting children of their own, by the way – I just find the "it's selfish not to have them" argument really, really puzzling!)

  • anuroopa says:

    I know Gandhi could never have been a mother, considering he was a man. But he did have children, by the way. But I get your point.

    anuroopa´s last blog post..the opinion

    • Amber says:

      I'm well aware that Ghandi was a man, Anu. And I don't think you DO get my point, because the fact that Ghandi is a man IS the point. According to the article I'm talking about in this post, only MOTHERS can be compassionate, good people. So someone like Ghandi can't possibly be a nice person according to the article because he is not a woman and therefore not a mother. If you'd read the rest of my post, you'd have seen the paragraph where I pointed out that being a father doesn't seem to count (according to the Mail) and went on to talk about that very issue.

      I've noticed you seem to misunderstand almost all of my posts, Anu. I'm not sure if it's a language barrier, or if you willfully misunderstand so you can be critical about something, but hopefully this explanation will help you.

  • Aparna says:

    Having a child is not going to make a woman less bitchy, Carol Sarler being the perfect example. I pity her children, honestly.

  • Sebastyne says:

    OMG… What a moron that woman is. She's so way off mark that I really can't take her seriously, and I'm quite confident that she won't be changing anyone's mind on how they see childfree women unless they already think the same way.

    I started thinking that there must be something really badly wrong in her head, like does she actually regret having children and having to work hard, sacrifice and be selfless for them and is angered by the people who have come to think of it before they put themselves into the mess called motherhood… I hope her children are proud of her. :D Imagine having a mother like that! I'd be going to school wearing a ski-mask every day! :p

    <abbr>Sebastyne´s last blog post..Childfree bingo</abbr>

    • Amber says:

      I know what you mean: she has far too much bitterness and anger towards women who don't want children for there not to be some deep-seated issue there. I wonder what she'll do if one of her own kids (assuming she has daughters, I don't know) grows up and decides not to become a mother? Call them names and call for them to be discriminated against in the workplace, presumably…

  • Mhairi says:

    OMG!
    Does that woman live in the stone age?!?
    Women do not need to have children to have a fulfilled life. We are all of the age where we can decide how to control our fertility – that is sometimes a life long decision and sometimes we take breaks and have children. But the clue is there – it is our choice!!!!

    Well done Amber for a well constructed, articulate arguement for the otherside – you blew her out of the water.

    Keep going chick – we support you (and dont think you are cold or calculating – but maybe a little bit mad sometimes).
    :)
    x

    Mhairi´s last blog post..Weekly Roudup

    • Amber says:

      I know, it really seems that she would like to see a return to the times when women had no choice but to be barefoot, pregnant and the kitchen. What’s amazing to me is that it’s a woman who wants to put this kind of pressure on us, to undo all the work of women’s lib and make us all feel that unless we choose to be mothers, we are failures and deserve to be called names and discriminated against in the workplace. I mean, she’s actually saying she WELCOMES the idea of discrimination against certain women. Unbelievable!

  • Veronika says:

    Hahaha she's such a good writer hahaha "lady, you're weird". liek wtf, could SHE be any weirder?? have to read the rest of your article, have just read the part before the "rest of this story" but had to comment.. that's..just..insane of her to be writing this..

    <abbr>Veronika´s last blog post..Is it love?</abbr>

  • Veronika says:

    Okaaay and what about alcoholic abusive mothers? (note: not that I actually KNOW anything about that either but there are some cases of this, one crazy "selfless" mother murdered her two children not long ago here in the Czech republic, it was all over the news, scary and v.horrible..). Also what about women who have both children and careers? is that what she is praising or is that bad too? Like my Mum, love her, love love love her, but after a while of taking care of us non-stop, she decided to go back to work. (She's a doctor btw – crazy work hours..) so my older sister and brother, we kinda took care of ourselves but I think it was great. We lived in a foreign country and all had our share of trouble but we did it our way..

    Carol Crazy would have hated us. :))

    <abbr>Veronika´s last blog post..Is it love?</abbr>

    • Amber says:

      Oh, exactly: I think we can probably all think of examples of parents who really aren’t doing that great a job at it. Her comment about how mothers are all up at the crack of dawn cooking their kids a healthy breakfast before heading off to work made me smile: I know a lot of mothers ARE like that, but a lot just aren’t – it seems strange to claim that all mothers are perfect, and that as soon as someone has a child they instantly become this amazing being. I’d love to know how that works, though: I mean, say I’m disorganised, absent-minded and short-tempered (which I am): will I just be miraculously “cured” of these vices as soon as I have a child? Because that would be quite cool, to be honest, but I somehow don’t think it would happen. I suspect I’d be exactly the same person, only with a child.

  • Emily I. says:

    I stayed home to raise our son and to my surprise, enjoyed it very much. However, if I am going to tell other people the number of children they should bear I should be willing to help them in the middle of the night when the child is sick, baby sit at a moments notice and commit to raise their child if they die. So far that would be, um, let’s see…none.

    My cousin and her husband desperately wanted children but had infertility issues. She underwent painful and costly procedures, and they were on waiting lists for adoption, so when people told them they should have children it was particularly hurtful. Her husband would respond with, “What a great idea! Could you excuse us for about 20 minutes?”

    • Amber says:

      This is something I’ve always thought about when people ask me “when” I’m having children or why I don’t have any. I mean, obviously the real reason is that we don’t want any, but what if we did, and couldn’t? It would be so hurtful to be constantly asked that question. Love your cousin’s husband’s response, though, I must remember that one!

      Totally agree with your first point too. I love my dog, but I know dogs aren’t for everyone, so the last thing I’d want would be to try and pressurise someone who might want to cope with a dog to buy one, just because I happen to enjoy owing one. (Not comparing dogs and children, by the way, it just always amazes me that people would like children to be born to people who might not be able to cope with raising them properly.)

  • ayemiy says:

    My favourite bit of her article was the picture caption;

    "Carol believes she can always pick which female staff have children"…

    Yeah, well, Carol's a prat.

    • Amber says:

      "Amber believes she can always pick which women are crazy…"

      (I can, too – they're the ones calling the rest of us rude names!)

  • Kelley says:

    What a ridiculous, poorly written and poorly argued article. But after browsing through the titles of the author’s other articles, I have the feeling that she writes these with the specific intention of getting people all riled up. It’s possible the Daily Mail is also using her for shock value.

    So although I don’t blame you at all for being upset – the article was very offensive – try not to let it eat at you too much. Humor is our best defense against stupid people who spend their time creating little pockets of hate in the world. :)

    Kelley´s last blog post..Cat in Progress, 1

  • That lady is an idiot. I admire people who don’t want kids because they are smart. They’ve thought it through. There are plenty of people out there who have kids and mistreat them.

    Also, if I was a boss, I’d prefer people who don’t have kids. Because I hate, as a single person with no kids, how that it is perfectly OK for a parent to take loads of time off from work to tend to kids, but God forbid I have to come in late because I had a doctor’s appointment.

    Kristabella´s last blog post..Mary Jane, I Am Not In Love With You

    • Amber says:

      I admire them too – not because I think people shouldn't have kids, obviously, but because I'd prefer it if children were only born to people who really want them, rather than people who don't want them, but feel pressured by society into having them anyway. And I always think that if these people really think it would be a good thing for people who don't particularly like children, or don't feel able to cope with them, to be pressured into having them, then all I can say is they mustn't care very much about the children they're so keen to see born!

  • xony says:

    It's a rather stupid thing to say that women who have no children are "cold and calculating". Supose she meant that they have no maternal instinct, thus they have no "human touch" wich is a really REALLY stupid affirmation, mainly because all women have a maternal instinct! Maybe not aimed at "omgIsowantkids", but it's there. It kicks in when our boyfriend gets sick, when we take care of a pet, when we are specially attentive to someone's well-being, even when we water a plant to keep it from dying we're showing some kind of selflessness, compassion and commitment!

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting any kids, and it certainly has no conection at all with your work ethic or skills!

    When I was younger I used to think what woman wouldn't want to be a mother, but as I grew up I realised that parenthood is not for everyone (for personal choice or any other reason), and that doesn't make you "weird" or mean or stupid or lazy, it makes you an INDIVIDUAL!

  • TwoCrabs says:

    WOW. That's just shocking! My wife and I are both child-free DINKS (dual-income, no-kids) and happily married for 9 years. In the eyes of many, that somehow makes us selfish, unholy, inhumane, communists, you name it. This article is so offensive on so many levels, I'm not even sure where to start. We've been child free for enough reasons to fill a book. This bitch is trying to sum it up in a few paragraphs. I truly feel sorry for this woman's children. Just because you can reproduce doesn't mean you should!

    <abbr>TwoCrabs´s last blog post..We're famous in Germany</abbr>

  • Myra says:

    Wow! I have never seen you so passionate in print before. This woman, Sarler, does something I can never understand! Judge others! Why! and Why women! Has she had a bypass in feminist and/or cultural mores? However, I have never read anything she has written, nor read The Daily Mail, but there is a series of articles in The Times and Sunday Times written by a child free writer (very witty and articulate), along with other articles which portray the other side of the debate – people's right to choose. So this topic must be high in the social awareness stakes at the moment. I agree with you when you say that you may change your mind in the future, and I think when people say this to you they are trying to share the experience of the completely overwhelming maternal instinct that some women experience. Believe me I found there is nothing that is more pressing and devastating if and when you do experience it. It resulted in me crying in supermarkets and in the street, because wherever you look there seem to be babies (your attention is drawn to whatever is uppermost in your heart and mind at the time – and you may or may not experience that feeling in the future, but that will be for you and you alone to make a decision about if it ever happens, although I know you will take your husband's feelings into account as well. For you at the moment it may be fabulous shoes and clothes which make your heart sing – and I perfectly understand that, because it did mine in my younger days, and sometimes even now I still feel wonderful with a new purchase, but not all women do. As you rightly say women are all different and we should celebrate that – we should be thankful for all the wonderful women and men we know who are different from us as we can learn from them. You know the pain one of my family experienced with infertility and I know you had compassion for her. So, one final question – although I admire your spirited response, why waste your energy on someone who is clearly so prejudiced and biased that she is not worthy or comment? With much love from a different woman to a woman of great personal strength. PS I think you spoke for many women.

    • Amber says:

      Well, to be completely honest, I wrote about it because I'm a writer – it's what we do :) I thought it would be an interesting topic for my blog, and would make a change from all of the shoes and dresses :) Sometimes I like to do something a bit more topical, just to mix things up a little, and I thought this was perhaps something a lot of people would identify with – not just people who don't have children, but anyone who resents the idea of being judged so harshly for such a personal choice.

      For me the heart of the issue is exactly what you've said – it's not really about having children or not having them, it's just about having the right to choose how you want to live your life without being actively discriminated against for your choice, which is what this woman is advocating . Live and let live – I'm always genuinely happy for people who want children and have them: that's a wonderful thing, and it's no-one's business to judge such personal choices. Try telling that to the Daily Mail, though!

      • Myra says:

        Interestingly, when my family member finally succeeded in having a baby she felt that women (mothers) reacted to her very differently. Suddenly, it seemed that she had joined the club – they could understand her now. Until then she felt that she was an enigma to other women, that there was a gulf between them. Then strangers, even close neighbours, who had never spoken to her before invited her into their homes.

  • Rock Hyrax says:

    You know how sometimes you write about the maniacs who come out at full moon and hurl vicious personal and profane abuse at you at the bottom of an item about harem pants or somthing? Well I almost turned into one of those at that so-called writer's article (except that I'd have had good reason). Can I just post a comment with a link to this one instead?

    I've also gone through the "ah, you're still young – you'll want one by the time you're thirty" phase through to just being judged as "unusual" (as my mother puts it). I like your Bichon Frise answer – have to admit I'll end up wanting one if you post many more pictures of Rubin ;-)

  • Natasha says:

    Oh god… I’m appalled. But the world is just full of people like what’s-her-face. I’ve been married for two years, and we still don’t have any children. My husband and I have noticed that people tend to look at us like we’re some kind of monsters when we tell them that – yes, we want children, we’re just not ready yet. I can only imagine the reactions when you say that you don’t want to have any… How you’ve managed to avoid being lynched, I honestly don’t know….

  • Mum says:

    Bravo, couldn’t be more proud of you. (Well actually could, but you know what I mean)

    Mum´s last blog post..Kathleen Hills Rolling Pin and Pastry Decorating Tips from Realtor.

  • Moni says:

    I have recently turned 35 and am still waiting for the moment when I will finally feel like I’m an adult. So what am I supposed to do with a child?
    Apart from the fact that my life so far didn’t run as smoothly as I hoped it would, and that I’m not as financially solid as I’d like to be, I LOVE being able to plan my time according to my personal likings without always having to find somebody to watch my children, just because I want to go to the cinema once in a while. Besides, I have a lot of time-consuming hobbies (Role playing, Square Dance), which I DO NOT want to give up (and not be able to take up again any time soon) just to belong to a “norm” I don’t want to belong to.
    Sure, I do feel my biological clock ticking. Yes, my body wants to finally become pregnant, but that means getting a baby->child->teenager you’ll never get rid of again. And as long as I cringe at the thought of changing diapers, playing silly finger-games and dragging a screaming toddler with me through the mall, that pregnancy thing is just not going to happen.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for every woman who actually decides to have children. It’s one of the biggest adventures of our time and a decision you can’t take back. But it’s just not for me, and I won’t let anybody tell me what I should do with MY life.
    Thanks for listening. :)

  • As a fellow child-free person I salute your stand. However, since your blog is most entertaining when you're vexed, I do slightly regret that you're turning down the opportunity for decades of material.

  • Katie says:

    Hi Amber,

    Great article (yours, not hers) as a fellow child free ginger I have to say we should get some sort of disability allowance if we are so mad, bad, ugly, desperate, sad, uncaring people. After my husband and I got married it tok my mother in law 5 weeks to ask when we were going to have a child and when we said never she did the whole "you're young and change your mind" bit. My parents understand a bit more and don't want to put pressure on us, but their faces when they see our friends children just kills me they want one so much.

    So I guess I am a bad person for not giving my parents what they want. But since in all likelyhood it would be ginger I'd just have to drown it anyway cause it would be so ugly and deformed…

    Keep it up!

    Katie x

  • Squib says:

    I've only skimmed through the above comments, so I may be repeating what others have stated, but yes: this was an article for the DAILY MAIL, which will never host a mild, intelligent opinion in its lifetime. So, a pinch of salt for that.

    But then again, I currently work in an office where a genuine topic of interest amongst the (married, mothering) women is: "Who will be next to fall pregnant?" The recently married young lawyer was the safe bet, seemingly. She's been beaten to it by 2 older men (& their respective partners) though.

    As someone wrote above, it's like we're in a time warp. Like suffrage, property ownership for wimmin and the advent of the Pill/contraception never existed. It has only been 40 years or so since the latter breakthrough – which in the scheme of things is a short period of time for society to respond wholesale to – but I am astonished that the birth-rate has not fallen off in any signficant way, as a result.

    I AM impatiently waiting for any nearest & dearest person – anyone will do really – to fall pregnant, so I can start knitting baby clothes. *That* impulse has sprung up on me recently, all unawares. Such cute tiny outfits! But nothing pink & lacy, mind. Oh no: it'll be retro sailor-outfits, purple & black rompers, and booties made to look like strawberries from me.

    S

  • Claire says:

    I agree with you entirely. I share your desire for no children and have had many of the same experiences. My mother says knowing what she knows now, she not only would've chosen not to have kids, but also not to get married. To each his/her own, but I do not appreciate assessments about my character being made based purely on my choice to remain childless.

    Bravo, Amber, on telling this woman what's what. I bet she wears drop crotch pants as well as being a presumptuous bitch.

    • Claire says:

      Also, it really annoys me when people like this woman act like its selfish not to have kids when the true selfishness comes in when people choose to have biological children purely to carry on thier "fabulous" genes while there are tons of orphans in need of homes already. Plus, when Carol states that mothers are always to work on time, that is utter bullshit. They are the ones with dual responsibility that have to split their efforts between work and child rearing. Also, they are often the ones complaining the most, not to mention the pregnancy leaves and time of work due to sick children/child-related activities.

      Grrrrr.

  • Mark says:

    Brilliant piece, Amber! Very articulate and witty to boot!

    I must say, I agree with you entirely save this one line:

    “And you never see a child-free man being lambasted for his choice, told he WILL change his mind, or being called “unnatural”, do you?”

    I AM a boy/man/thing and am presently being lambasted by my very own girlfriend due to my absolute disinclination to have children. Yes, apparently I’m selfish, weird, unnatural AND DON’T HAVE A CHOICE! The above sentiments are clearly NOT reserved solely for un-(c)lucky women!

  • Tiny D says:

    It astounds me how the Daily Mail persists in being considered a “woman’s paper” and has a dedicated section which claims to devote itself to women’s issues when these so-called “women’s issues” appear to consist entirely of bitching-either about celebrity weight fluctuations or other women’s choices-usually the choice to forego a career and start popping out babies as soon as they’ve completed their schooling. What woman would seriously want to read any of this tripe?

    I have never read an article in the Daily Mail and ended up feeling anything but suicidal. I completely agree with your point about how women need to stop putting other women down as a matter of course before we can be truly equal, and this paper simply proves that we still have a long way to go.

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Amber!

    I know this was posted a while ago but I had to reply because I think you’re utterly fabulous and completely right in what you say about this article. I despise the Daily Mail with a passion. My new year’s reso was never to read it as I always came away feeling very low and pondering the state of society today. I am childfree and always have been. As an almost-27 year old, I have been told countless times I’ll change my mind. The prospect that my mind might change scares the sh*t out of me but I am pretty certain it won’t and if it does then adoption it is! I would feel completely at peace with my choice were it not for society and the media. I am naturally CF. I don’t dislike children, but I don’t go out of my way to spend time with them and I find puppies and kittens a million times cuter. I didn’t realise that my choice was such an issue until a colleague told me that I am a woman = I have a womb = I MUST have a baby. I find it ridiculous that such a personal choice has to constantly be questioned. So, the 15 year old that got knocked up down the road from me is a better representation of womankind than I am? So be it! Anyway, sorry for the rant but sometimes it can feel like I’m alone with my decision not to have children and I cried reading the responses to this blog post because there ARE people like me! You’re fabulous, wonderful and beautiful Amber, a terrific writer and by no means cold, calculating, sad OR mad. Jen xoxo P.S. I am also a redhead and it’s my favourite features but I must say yo have the most beautiful red hair ever!

  • Selina says:

    What an idiot. I feel sorry for the people around her. There are far too many dipsticks like her in this world

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