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Daily Archives: 25/07/2012

The Child-Free Zone Campaign

Coming to a street near you soon! (I wish)

We’ve all heard the old Victorian adage that children should be seen and not heard and we all know that this contradicts everything that we understand of modern day parenting. Well, I’m taking a stand and am launching a one woman campaign to instill some good old fashioned values into this crazy world so that people like myself are no longer discriminated against.

You may be wondering how a first world, middle class, white, blonde haired Nazi-wet dream can feel discriminated against, well I shall tell you. I’m single and childless, what’s more, I do not like children, I really don’t like them at all. There, I said it. This is a sentiment no woman is supposed to utter or apparently her ovaries will explode or something. Mine are just fine, thanks, although I am considering having my uterus removed to clear space for champagne, and then have the thing tanned and converted into something I will actually use, like a purse. I’m not gross though, I’d totally have it lined with silk.

My choice to not have children is constantly called into question and many a patronising idiot, before stooping to pick up what remains of their teeth, has tried to insist that I will one day change my mind and bear fruit from my nethers. The only likely way I’m going to be producing fruit from there is if I decide to perform as part of a greengrocer’s cabaret act! The simple fact of the matter is that I do not enjoy children. I do not enjoy their noise, their kerfuffling, their inane chatter, their mess, their greasy, snot covered, adventuring hands and their ability to kill a perfectly decent adult conversation in less than 3 seconds.

Now, I’m not suggesting people stop having children. That is their right and someone has to produce more idiots to fill up all the reality shows on television, but what I am suggesting is that those of us who do not enjoy children, be allowed a place in this crazy kid-centric world where we are not forced to suffer them. As far as the eye can see, there are child friendly areas and family zones, special play areas, parking spaces and menus designed specifically to accommodate these small beings, nay, to encourage them! Well, I say we “adults” take a stand and claim our own little corners of the world.

Just think of the train rides where you could sip contentedly on your glass of wine in a civilised manner in the “18 and over only” carriage, along with the other adults, all holding mature, intelligent conversation (well, some more than others). Sit back and enjoy the scenery rolling past, through windows that aren’t smeared with bogeys and burger flavoured hand prints, free of the chorus of “mummy, mummy, mummy, mummy, mummy, MUMMY, MUMMY… are we nearly there yet?”. Imagine your train commute to work where your shins aren’t bashed by a buggy, over-stuffed with toddlers leaving a trail of raisins and resentment, and where you don’t get a withering look for the blue language that rightly accompanies a bruised leg.

I’ve touched on this before in a previous post but just imagine a world where there are child-free seating areas on planes. No, make that entirely child-free flights! No longer would you have your holiday kicked off, quite literally by a fidgety toddler behind you. No more suffering ten hours sat next to a screaming bundle of someone else’s joy.

The park is a lovely place to rest and soak up the rays of what little summer we have, isn’t it? Not one full of children! No sooner have you tucked into your sociable Sunday picnic than a rogue football arcs mercilessly across the sky and splats squarely into the plate of cucumber sandwiches and jam tarts (I picnic old school style). Your scintillating adult chat is brought to a dead halt by the dull thud of flesh on terra firma that lets you know a child has fallen gracelessly from a swing and that in precisely 5 seconds (the time it takes for the average 7 year old casualty to fill a lung) the air will be filled with the sort of blood curdling scream that causes you to wish to inflict another. This would never happen in one of my specially allocated “child-free” parks.

Restaurants are frowned upon if they do not allow children to grace their dining chairs. They are positively slammed for not providing children’s menus and free wax crayons and colouring books and balloons and face painting – and the list goes on. I say stand strong, restaurants-aimed-at-adults! I want to visit you with my friends so we can enjoy the delicious food, impeccable service and charming ambience swear word peppered chat without a toddler throwing their “kiddie’s special” spaghetti at us while their mother has a full volume nervous breakdown trying to prevent the bored 10 year olds running rings round the waiter and hitting everything within a 20 foot radius with their free balloons.

Much like the serious-swimmers-only lanes at the public pool, I’m going to campaign for adult-only lanes on the pavement. One of my greatest fears these days is purely trying to walk from A to B due to frequently encountering flocks of small children on those hellish 3 wheeled scooters. They hurtle towards you uncontrollably and as their slack jawed faces look up at you, mesmerised, their hands turn to follow their gaze and you end up playing chicken with a brakeless 4 year old. Toddlers and dog turds are things best kept off the pavement as they’re both incredibly tedious to scrape off the bottom of your shoe.

I understand that children must use the same public amenities that I must, and that they need to be educated at visiting the same places that I visit, but why should people who do not enjoy children be made to endure them? So much time and energy is spent in this modern age on accommodating and supporting “The Family” and especially the smaller, noisier, messier members of this unit, but what about the rest of us? My tax money goes towards schools and nurseries and child-friendly community projects, why shouldn’t some of it go toward making places where I and my fellow dependent-free beings can be accommodated and encouraged too?

I accept and support my child raising friends, I appreciate that the societal norm is to want to produce offspring of your very own and I also know that I will be criticised and thought poorly of for my opinion on this matter, but is it too much to ask that those of us who make the simple choice to live child-free existences not be made to feel like we are always second rate citizens to a group of people who can’t even wipe their own noses?

I’m not for one second suggesting that we make all restaurants, pubs, trains, planes, parks, cinemas, theatres, supermarkets, hotels, swimming pools etc adult-only, goodness me, no! If we didn’t have clearly designated, well signed child-friendly options to welcome these bratlings in, I wouldn’t know where to avoid! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the forest to build a campaign HQ out of gingerbread.

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