Today is my birthday. Yay!! Friends and family have been ringing me up and sending me e-mails and SMS, or posting on my facebook wall (which you may not be able to access if I don't know you, for I have security levels so high that compete with The Wall from Game of Thrones, and hopefully not even the wildlings and white walkers will be able to pass it). Lots and lots of years ago I was born on this day a baby, grew up and turned up to be the woman tapping on the keyboard you've got today. It is kinda funny that my topic for today is precisely that of Childfree-ness, but it is.
When posting on Facebook about my believe of no children (for me) from time to time I get this selfconscious nag about my sister-in-law, whom I've friended and can read my rantling. Never says a thing - there's not much to be said - but it's still there. The last comment of mine on this topic was about this Malaysian airline that decided to ban babies from first class. Not that I have the means to fly first class, but it warmed my heart. I'm not a frequent flyer, as you all know, but I do fly in average once a year, and in these occasions I seat on a plane for about 7.5 to 12 hours, depending on the airline (KLM takes longer, Air France is faster, but I also love Air France for sooooooo many other wonderful reasons!), and through them, having to suffer whining children and wailing babies has been the one down I can't forgive. Thoughts like "please someone just shoot them down", "ain't a terrorist that can just destroy this plane so we get over with it?" and so on cross my mind. Of course, the valuable aid of my laptop and all the movies and series I can watch is appreciated, but some children are so loud you can hear their crying through your earphones in the middle of an accion scene from "Prince of Persia".
In an airport isn't so terrible (unless you have to crash there because your flight got delayed, cancelled or something), as you can go somewhere else (often smoker booths and bars are the best place to escape the children!), but in a confined place it is a nightmare. So far, in a society that truly beheld family and children as the ultimate goal of marriage and women, adults were all expected to put up with the annoyance of unruly brats. Children crying in the movie theatre, children throwing temper tantrums at stores and restaurants, loud children on airplanes... The excuse was always "they are children", and that should suffice for anyone to suck it up and put away any thing that might get interrupted because of the kid. You could hardly even complain in a public transportation mean when some baby vomited on you or started pulling your hair, clothes or things. Slapping the child or even looking at them like "stay away from me, you shit-machine" was right next to murder. Is, still, I believe. So, what do we, adults-not-carrying-a-kid expect? (Because believe it or not, not childfree people, like people with older, teen kids, also get annoyed!) Well, we rightfully expect the parent of the child to be responsible and contain the child.
Indeed, to expect a baby to out of the blue understand how it should behave among other people is unreasonable. On that same line, if we would expect the baby to know how to behave just by being put in a situation, we should also expect them to speak the local language and chat with us about the current global politics, maybe toss an idea or two about how to solve the Greek situation. No, lets clear something right now: it's not the child, it's the parent. Yes, we get mad at the child, but isn't automatically the feeling passed onto the parent who proves incompetent in properly parenting the offspring? Do we get mad at the baby pulling our hair or at the parent who hasn't thought the child that such a thing shouldn't be done? Yep, the culprit is the parent.
It is the parent's responsability to educate the child, teach them good from wrong, proper from unproper, and also, yes, to teach them how to behave in different social situations. It is also the parent's responsability to determinate whether the child is ready to be exposed to certain social situations. Just as you wouldn't take your uncontrollable pet (be it a dog, a cat or a reptile... or anything) to a public place (or you are supposed not to), a parent should also consider whether they can expose their children to situations they can't handle. After all - going back to the pets - you wouldn't take your big, unruly dog to a playground full of kids, and unleash it knowing it won't listen to you if you call them, and then expect parents and children to put up with your terrorizing dog while excusing the both of you saying "well, it's a dog". However parents often act like they are inmune to those basic social rules. Sadly this irresponsible attitude is learned by their children, who then learn that children can do anything they want and adults with children too.
Pop-question: Are Childfree bitter because we don't have the human shield of a children to get away with annoying others? Well, as a Childfree I'd say, I don't want to get away with annoying others, I want not to be annoyed. I'd love it also if pro-family and fringe parents would stop a second on their tracks and think about what so carelessly they say. They call us immature and selfish. I look back at them. They bring children to this life, act irresponsably about them, regarding others... and we are the immature. They don't do what's requiered to not impose on the rest of society because of a choice they made by themselves... and we are the selfish. Well, being childfree surely is fucking up with my semantics.
However the world goes by and parents rather hide behind their children and "being left out of choices" attitudes, instead of owning up to their decisions and realizing that while the child isn't ready to properly function in society, they must make sure neither them or their children disrupt the social mechanics and impose on other people. This sadly forces people and companies fed up with the gamble of whether a parent is responsible for their kids and if they bring them is because the kids are ready, or not, and take matters to their own hands. This is how children and families get separated, secluded or down right banned from different places. You may say it is unfair, and well, it could be. There are parents who are really responsible, who really educate their children to behave, and there are children who are real angels, quite and undisturbing, but that's not the case of all of them. As a matter of fact, that's more an exception that the norm, so until parents get through their thick skulls that yes, they are entirely responsible of their children and they shouldn't impose them on the rest of the world, the rest of the world will have to ban them, distrust them and lock them far away where they can let others be in peace.