naughty school children on bus stop

Guest Posting: Your Child, Your Choice
5 Things Non-Parents Want Parents To Know

I love children, more specifically, I love other people’s children. Ask any of my friends;  I’m the cool, pseudo-aunt every kid loves because I’m fun, talk to them like adults, I have dogs,  an air hockey table and painting projects. I let them eat ice cream at 11 pm, and I give them questions to ask their parents like, “Why did we abandon NASA” or “Why haven’t we had any women presidents.” But from a very young age, I knew that I absolutely did not want any biological children of my own.

My mom was a stay-at-home mom to four kids for most of my life. I saw the job up close. It looked exhausting, difficult, stressful, expensive, and smelly.  Since I also knew at a young age that I would be a lawyer, I figured I’d have my share of those things in my career, with hopefully less smelliness.

My decision not to have children doesn’t affect anyone’s life but my own (and the multiple men who have, for the most part unsuccessfully, asked me to marry them, but that’s another post). But I’m finding a growing expectation that the childless among us not just respect, but actively participate in others’ choices to reproduce.

Every adult has, at some point, been a child. Every person has, at some point, been a non-parent. No doubt that having a child changes one’s perspective, but does it require a loss of all perspective? I don’t think so. Here are 5 things I’d love parents to know, from the non-parenting set.

1. Understand Some May Choose To Help But Are Not Obligated

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If I see a mother struggling to open a stroller, keep one hand on her child’s leash, and not spill her coffee, I’m going to stop and help her (because it would be a shame to spill that coffee). That’s nice of me; it is not required. Recently I read a friend’s post on Facebook where she was upset that the stranger in the seat next to her on a flight wouldn’t accommodate or interact with her child. Her conclusion was that this was obviously a cold, unfeeling, unhappy person. But it's her flight too; maybe this was her only time to be completely unplugged from e-mail, phone calls, interruptions and read a book, sleep, or just have quiet.  Your child, your choice, your responsibility.