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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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About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

54 responses »

  1. Brilliant! As I get older, I have been bending toward your position. Keep it coming.

    Reply
  2. Well said that woman, I could not agree more. And, given that most of the problems in the world today are due to over-population, something should be done to curb the insatiable ‘need’ to produce these little monsters. Soon.
    (I had my womb removed years ago but sadly it was in no fit shape for re-cycling into anything useful).

    Reply
    • It’s not so much the number of people, it’s more to do with the fact cretins are allowed to breed. Now there lies another blog!

      Maybe you could have filled it with dried lavender and kept it in your knicker drawer.

      Reply
  3. Brilliant post. As a young woman people excpect me to have at least some maternal feelings, it’s “only natural”, but I cannot stand children. I think a more appropriate solution to the “children problem” is that society needs to change. It’s what adults let their kids do that’s the problem. 100 years ago people would be shocked if they could see what is acceptable behaviour now. We wouldn’t need adult only areas if children behaved!

    Reply
    • It’s funny isn’t it? Just because we have the tackle necessary for squirting out kids, everyone expects us to spend our lives yearning for it. No thanks, I quite like being a selfish toad!

      No matter how well behaved a child is, I still can’t stomach looking at one covered in melted ice cream. It literally turns my stomach so I’m going to stand firm by my adult-only zones.

      Reply
  4. I’m so glad I’m not the only woman who doesn’t like kids. Everytime I say it it’s like I just shot someone. Part of the problem is that I don’t like people either, so I just invision the little brats to grow up and people that I don’t like anyway. Overpopulation is such huge issue, but everyone just has to have kids. And that’s my issue besides just not liking them. Why does everyone have to have so many? What is the point? Just because we’re selfish? Why can’t we love some of the kids that are already here and who don’t have anyone to love them? I’m all for adopting kids, but there doesn’t need to be any more until we get our population down. Anyway, thanks for this.

    Reply
    • It’s very nice to hear I’m not alone. Usually I hear “Oh yeah, I hate kids too… but I’ll totally love my own ones.” Traitors.

      Just because we’re packing a uterus, doesn’t mean we have to fire out brats. The first adult-only zone to be declared is ME!

      Adoption’s fine, contraception is better. 😉

      Reply
  5. So selfish; why should you be carefree and happy when everyone else has to suffer (but not necessarily in silence). If God had meant people to enjoy life, then he wouldn’t have invented kids with snotty runny noses (and other runny parts on occasion) and trips to the beach with families crammed into cars so small that their elbows are in each others’ faces half the trip.

    Therefore, I am sending you 2.5 children by the next available post. One has Attention Deficit Disorder (the brat), one is constantly dobbing on his siblings (the rat), and one is an older teenager always chasing after girls (the frat). So, it should be high times in the PFPT household tomorrow night.

    I realise that your post was a Freudian expression of your real wish for children, so this should solve everything. By the way, you may wish to invest in some plastic sheets to place around your abode to minimise the messes to be made by the little darlings.

    Your new children should arrive soon.

    No, no, don’t thank me. Always happy to help.

    Reply
    • Return to sender:

      Dear Mr Beardy,

      We tried to deliver your package but the recipient was out frollicking in a park, drinking champagne with other fabulous people and had no idea at what time or even day she might return. We tried to deliver your package the next day but she had apparently taken off on a debauched city break with her lover on a whim.

      The delivery and return delivery invoice will be posted to you along with the bill for the intense ice cream-removal cleaning of one delivery truck and the therapy bill for no less than three delivery drivers.

      Yours

      Reply
  6. I look forward to the backlash from this on Twitter. Oh but if you would, please tell me about it, I don’t subscribe as I’m not a twat and I never will be!!

    Reply
    • I’m still waiting for the backlash. So far it seems the world is with me on this one, only no-one had thought to pipe up sooner! Expect Child Catcher wagons on every street corner in the coming year.

      Reply
  7. I’ve raised three kids and love them dearly but I totally ‘get’ your position. Just because we’re women doesn’t mean we have to have or love the idea of kids. Chaos is not for everyone…and the chaos continues even when they’re grown and ‘on their own’!

    Reply
  8. Bravo! I particularly loved this line: “someone has to produce more idiots” hahahahhahaaa!!!

    Reply
    • Well, who would we all sit around hating on a Saturday night if there weren’t a surplus of idiots trying to sing/dance/eat kangaroo testicles on television?

      Reply
  9. I taught for six years. I do enjoy children; however, there are places and times that I wish to be child-free. The movie theater is one. I went to a showing once on a Friday 8 or 9 pm show of “The Avengers”. The child sitting (I say that with some looseness) across the aisle from my group shouted and ran amok for almost an hour and a half before the mother (again I say it loosely) took the child to the lobby. I was asked why I did not say something. My reply is the same. Had I gotten up and hobbled either over there or to the lobby to complain, I shudder to think where my beautiful carved maple cane might have ended up!
    Scott

    Reply
  10. Missy Amber

    As the owner/producer/handler of 2 brats/little delights, I’m with you all the way. Can my house be on the short list for the trial programme?

    Reply
  11. This made me laugh! I’m 43 now, no kids, not married….and I love kids! But he last 3 years I worked as a photographer in a very family-friendly studio….and the crap I had to deal with was enough to make me get sterilized! 🙂
    Dug
    http://gup42.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • I went to a photographic studio once. There was a child (related to me) jumping. The jumping was then followed by a blast of vomit. I expect the photographer took two bricks to his bits after that.

      Reply
  12. I never wanted children. But I got pregnant and fate had different plans for me. Then I had another to keep #1 happy and someone to bitch to about how lousy mommy and daddy are to him.
    Then I pregnant again….on the pill no less….but lost that one. Lost three more as well until it was finally realized that I was going into early menopause.
    I have no more desire to have any more children. I don’t even want grandchildren! I hope my kids know enough to wrap that sucker when they’re with a girl. I also don’t do babysitting!
    And yes, I agree, when I’m in a restaurant, keep your brats at bay please. I’m also paying a good price for a meal. A quiet one! If you can’t control your off spring, then maybe you should just stay at home. Sacrifices you make when you’re a parent. Deal with it!
    Excellent post! I’m SO with you on this one!

    Reply
    • Crikey, you really are proof that it can happen to the best of us. 😉

      Too true when you mention sacrifices. You chose to have children so I’m afraid that means you also chose to give up having half as much fun as me! Keep your children out of my pubs and drink at home, alone, after dark like the rest of the parents.

      Reply
      • Oh, I love the parents that bring the kids to the pubs! For a couple hours! Can’t imagine what the booze bill is! Two hours later they finally leave! Kids should have been in bed HOURS ago!

        Reply
  13. Fantastically put, dear. Seriously beautiful. Mind you I have a 6 yr old son whom only blatters and whines in the presence of his female guardians (mom and grandmother for example), I still support your essay fully. There is a time and a place for children but they are not in eateries, pubs, classes, etc… Parks are acceptable though. However, if a parent is to bring their runt to a park (or any other social gathering space) they should respectfully and cordially up and remove the child once unfavorable behavior begins. Said behaviors include, but are not limited to, crying, whining, screaming, boredom, nagging, begging, tugging, or anything that does disturb the natural order of adult interaction. In summary, kids do not belong in strictly adult (or grown up) settings. By kids I mean anyone who cannot rationalize their emotions and needs in a civil manner.

    Reply
    • There is indeed a time and a place for children, and actually, I think this works as a protective ruling for said bratlings as well as the adults. If you don’t want your children to hear me using very fruity language and chat about naughty nocturnals, probably best not to bring them to the adult-centric places I frequent.

      Reply
  14. Bring back smoking in public spaces/pubs/restaurants. Difficult in the pool but hold a competition – some knob will deisgn a way. Smoking carriages on tubes/trains/planes. As George Dubya said “Smoke ’em Out”. You may die of lung cancer etc but at least it will be in peace.

    Reply
  15. Diego Serrano

    Made me laugh out loud…at three in the am. I don’t laugh at shit that early. You totally killed it.

    Reply
  16. I respect your position, but here’s what I feel…

    We were all kids one time. Remember those days? Personally I loved when I was very young more so than when I was a teenager (which I’ve barely moved on from just a few months ago D:), when I was oblivious to the implications of what I did (which as you said, you dislike lol). When I was a child, I enjoyed life so much because there was so much to experience, things like legos for example.

    Now when I see kids, I remember my childhood and simply want to make them happy, because they’re still in a world of total innocence and enjoyment. They don’t have to worry about real work and real problems, because they have no responsibilities. And by helping them have a blast, playing with them or telling them a story they really like, it gives me a little bit of that same feeling from when I was a child. And I can see it in their faces how much they’re loving life… This trumps any feeling of being annoyed they could ever give me. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m really patient that I’m able to deal with them.

    Reply
    • Yes, I was a child but I had the good grace to grow out of it! 😉

      People are welcome to adore children and to enjoy them but I simply don’t so all I ask is that there are places where I’m not forced to suffer them causing their “adorable” mayhem. It’s also safer for them if I’m not there to plot terrible ways to stop their fun. 😉

      Reply
  17. Brilliant.

    As usual.

    Reply
  18. Fantastic, and so right. Im childless at present and cant stand kids in general. Very seldom do i meet a child that i am fond of. However i do plan on using my uterus one day but of course my overspring will be impecably behaved. I grew up respecting aldults, keeping the noise down and never ever interupting adult conversations. My nana used to tell my brother and i that children should be seen and not heard, and heres Cheers to my nan because old fashioned values worked. In a way i feel sorry for all those foul ratty children filling our streets because they have to live with such rotten big people whos manners are no better than theirs.
    If i have a devil child i will be putting It back!!!!

    Reply
    • “Mine will be different” – the line all people tell themselves in order to fool themselves into getting up the duff.

      Apparently they’re not a easy to put back as they are to put in in the first place. Perhaps if yours is utterly vile, you could turn it into the next Lindsay Lohan and cash in on the vulgarity.

      Reply
  19. Sign me up, my Pretty. And your little dog, too.

    Reply
  20. Child free zone – my idea of heaven

    Reply
  21. Pingback: Keep Out « The Kitchen Slattern Speaks

  22. Scrape toddlers off the bottom of your shoe? I’ve read that one before :p .

    But yes, I agree there should be places where adults can be adults, others where kids can be kids and most importantly the mixing ground…… Or any place that serves alcohol.

    Reply
  23. What you have written here will be considered blasphemy, back here in India!!! 🙂 The very thought of a woman announcing that she hates having children could give you some sneers!Once you get married, people expect you to deliver,literally. Surprisingly, these very people then find their children a liability! Sad but true!

    Reply
    • I was really shocked one day when a friend of mine from far off lands replied to my statement that I didn’t want to have children with “well, it won’t be up to you, it will be up to your husband.” – I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I probably won’t get married either.

      I guess I’m very lucky to have been born into a culture that accommodates my personal life choices. 🙂

      Reply
  24. Pingback: #Childfree Times for July 2012 - Nyxks Musings

  25. Gareth Collins

    Although I love children (not in a bad way, before some troll butts in), I can sympathise and agree with what’s being said here.

    One point though – I don’t always blame the children, I blame lax parenting and the state for sticking its nose in and meddling where it shouldn’t. The state has no right to tell a parent that he/she can’t smack their child/children when he/she/they are being unruly. I was smacked as a child, but now I recognise and accept why I was smacked and yes I deserved it. Nowadays, you’d have solicitors telling children to sue their parents for even wanting to smack them!

    I think that since the 1980s it’s got worse – I was only two when the EU banned canes/board rulers as means to ‘warm the pants’ of unruly children in schools. Since then, what has happened? Undisciplined children have grown up as immature and irresponsible adults and churn out basketcase sprogs like they were on for The Queen’s Award For Industry’.

    You can’t expect a child to be perfect if he/she grows up in a cage of hate – if Mum and Dad are too busy boozing down the pub, and if his/her teachers in school fail to inspire and drill confidence and discipline into him/her then the child will be failed and won’t be ‘socially normal.’ You also cannot expect a child to be perfect if he/she grows up in a society where his/her Mum and Dad are fearful of disciplining their child through fear of Social Services calling.

    Maybe it is time that we take a step back – a child is only going to be as good as the people and society in which he/she lives. Teach a child love and respect and you will get love and respect, teach a child not to give a damn and you’ll end up with an unruly child who will be of no use to society.

    Reply

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