Monday, April 24, 2017

#MicroblogMondays: Selfish?

The childfree by choice blog "We're (not) having a baby!" posted recently on a familiar theme: the persistent myth (and it IS a myth) that people without children are selfish.

As I read, I thought about the unmarried childless woman of our acquaintance that dh & I ran into last week. Retired for several years from a well-paying (& well-pensioned) job, she lived with her parents until they died, helping to care for them in their last years -- and now she lives with and cares for a disabled sibling. She has several nieces and nephews (and great-nieces and nephews) and always remembers them with gifts on holidays, birthdays & other special events.

I couldn't help but think of the research done by Savvy Auntie, which showed (among other things) that 1 in 5 American women today is a "PANK" (Professional Aunt, No Kids) -- a sizeable (and growing) demographic with a high average annual income. Contrary to popular mythology, Savvy Auntie's research demonstrated that the vast majority of PANKs love children -- and they are able – and happy – to offer meaningful support to the children in their lives. In fact, in terms of dollars and cents, PANKs spend an estimated annual average of $387 (!!) on EACH child in their lives.

I thought about our two nephews, and all the other children in our lives (children of cousins, friends, coworkers...) that dh & I have spent money -- and time -- on over the past 30+ years -- birthdays, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, graduations, bridal & baby showers, weddings; Valentine's Day, Easter & Halloween (chocolate & other tchotchkes);  trip souvenirs -- and other stuff, just because.

Our two nephews are a little too old for Easter chocolate these days ;) -- but early this month, I popped a package into the mail for the Little Princesses that included colourful new spring/Easter outfits for each of them, sidewalk chalk, and (yes) chocolate. ;)  Last week, we braved the aisles of Babies R Us (our favourite store -- NOT!! lol)  to purchase a gift from the registry for an expectant mother whose baby shower I'll be attending soon. And this past weekend, we attended a first communion celebration for stepMIL's grandson. Dh & I drove Oldest Nephew & his Bride to the party (even though they're adults who both have their own cars), and dh spent a few hours doing their taxes for them (even though they're old enough to learn how to do them themselves...!)(he vows that, next year, they will!).

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here


  1. I think parents have this idea that they are "selfless" because their world turns upside down when they replicate themselves and they find their waking hours devoted to this being they have put on earth - all their time, money and concentration is now trained almost exclusively on this extension of themselves, seemingly to the detriment of their own self-interest. Selfless, altruistic, saintly? No, no one made them do it; it's just what has to happen when you decide to have a baby - stop the press, hold the front page etc, didn't they hear the rumours? I did. I find that parents are often the least selfless people I know: their lives revolve around their kids and they become more self-absorbed as a family unit, if anything. Unfortunately the ones that see childfree people are selfish usually occupy a moral high-ground where they see themselves as necessarily sacrificing their own pleasures etc to raise the next generation and save the world from running out of people. Ha. Ha. That's gonna happen.

  2. Selfish? No way! It's such a fallacy, this stereotype. Thanks for doing your bit to help dispel it.

  3. The polar opposite. And a myth that is long overdue to be busted.