pink coffee cup

Being child-free makes you “cold, calculating, sad and mad”, apparently

I read Carol Sarler’s piece on Why bosses are right to distrust women who don’t have children this morning (I know, I should know better to read anything in the Mail, but there was a link on Twitter, I clicked…), and spent the next ten minutes or so ranting angrily to anyone who would listen (sorry, Terry and Rubin) about how women like Carol are the reason we’ll never have true equality with men: because as long as women insist on putting so much time and energy into tearing each other down, calling each other names and being holier-than-thou about every little choice other women make, we’ll always just seem like a bunch of cats fighting in a sack. And we will never, ever be taken seriously.

Here’s the part where I prove my point by tearing Carol Sarler down and being holier-than-thou. But where to start?

How about at the very beginning:

“Much as I like to trumpet the importance of a woman’s right to choose all things at all times, [says Carol] there’s one choice I simply cannot understand: the choice of an otherwise sane and healthy woman not to have children…if she says she hasn’t a shred of maternal feeling in her, moreover, if she says she would prefer to concentrate on her career and that a child would only get in the way of it, then my head might acknowledge her right to do so. But my heart whispers: ‘Lady, you’re weird.”

It’s interesting, this, because when I hear another woman say she’d like to have children, I think… well, nothing, really. Partly because it’s none of my business, but also because I learned something a long time ago that I think is a basic truth. It’s this: we are not all the same. Women are not all the same. Men are not all the same. We want different things, like different things, are good and bad at different things. Different. It’s what makes us spechul. And as far as I’m concerned, as long as people aren’t actually hurting anyone else with their choices, I don’t really care how they choose to live their lives. (Unless they choose to do it to the accompaniment of music from tinny speakers. Then they can all go to hell.)

A woman choosing not having children doesn’t hurt anyone.

From the way some people choose to react, though, you’d really think it did. Being child free is one of the last great taboos, and there’s a surprisingly large number of people out there who’ve failed to grasp that basic truth I mentioned above, and who feel that unless everyone else in the world chooses to live their lives in exactly the same way they do, then they must be “mad”, and it’s probably a good idea to call them names. Because being derogatory about people who aren’t harming anyone ISN’T mad or “weird” in any way, you see. It’s important that we’re clear about this.

Lots of people do this. I’ve actually lost count of the number of times people have called me “unnatural”, “weird” or any other variety of unpleasant names, just because they’ve discovered that I don’t want to have children. (And trust me, such is the strength of feeling about this subject that I don’t generally offer that information up unless pushed.) I’ve been told repeatedly that I WILL change my mind. Well, I’m not going to deny that that could happen – of course it could – but so far the signs aren’t encouraging, and quite apart from anything else, the sheer rudeness and presumptuousness of the statement takes my breath away. When will I be considered old enough to know my own mind, I wonder? Why do people who’ve only just met me think they know me better than I know myself? Why is such a very personal choice even up for debate? If someone tells me they’ve decided to have a child, I’m not going to say, “Ooh, are you quite sure about that? I’m pretty sure you’ll change your mind!” Because a) it’s none of my business what other people do with their lives and b) it’s none of my business. Really.

My reproductive intentions, though, ARE considered to be everyone else’s business. (And by “my” I mean “women in general”). So, really, I shouldn’t be surprised by Carol Sarler’s hatred for the child-free: it’s symptomatic of a society which likes to control women by persuading them they are “mad” or “bad” if they fail to conform to the “norm”, whether they want to or not.

Even so, I had to question just what planet Carol actually inhabits when I read this bit:

“Besides which, in my experiences both as a colleague and an employer, I have found that mothers almost always bring something extra to the job, to the benefit of all.

It’s not the mothers, for a start, who are going to turn up late and hungover after a night on the razz; they’ll have been up, dressed and alert for hours, having cooked a family breakfast and delivered their children to school. On time. “

Wow. Way to completely generalise as a way of getting attention, Carol! Bravo! And of course, she’s right: all mothers are exactly the same. And all non-mothers are exactly the same. I must’ve somehow missed the memo telling me that because I don’t have a child, I’m supposed to be “on the razz” every night. If I’d only known that, I wouldn’t have dutifully turned up at work every day ON TIME, and stayed late most days – often because my colleagues who had children had to leave early to pick them up from school/take them to an activity/wanted to spend time with them.

I’m not going to be so stupid as to suggest that ALL mothers are like this: of course not. BUT. When I worked in an office, I was frequently asked to come in early, stay late, work weekends, change my holidays or take on extra duties, all to accommodate colleagues who insisted that their children came first. I should emphasise that I don’t blame them for that. If I had children, I’d be exactly the same. In fact, even without children, I am exactly the same: my family comes first. Always.

Again, though, I seem to have missed a memo somewhere, because according to Carol Sarler all women are EITHER wonderful, warm-hearted mothers OR cold, calculating career-women. There is no middle ground, which confuses me, because I’m neither a mother or a career woman. I work because I need the money. I’d rather not have to work, to be honest. But I don’t want children either, so I don’t seem to fit into Carol’s neat stereotypes at all. I somehow don’t think I’m the only one.

“It’s not the mothers, usually, who run the office bitch-fest.”

And it’s not the non-mothers who write nasty, bitchy articles, calling other women hugely offensive names just because they’ve made a personal choice that affects no-one but them, is it? Oh, kettle, you’re looking very black today!

“You cannot be a mother without knowing something about selflessness, compassion, generosity, commitment, fierce loyalty and plain hard work.”

I know, and Mother Teresa was just a hold, hard, calculating bitch, wasn’t she? That weirdo better not be getting a sainthood, because, after all, she wasn’t a mother: what would she know about selflessness or compassion? Also, Gandhi? Used to rock up to work drunk every morning, FACT.

And being a mother may well teach you all about selflessness, etc, but it apparently doesn’t preclude you from being judgemental, narrow-minded, prejudiced or the kind of person who’ll bad-mouth others just because they’re not exactly the same as you. Which is a shame.

Seriously, though. I mean, SERIOUSLY. I’m not denying that mothers are great. Sure they are. But are we REALLY so narrow-minded as to believe that they, and they alone, are capable of selflessness or compassion? That only mothers know what it’s like to work hard or be loyal? REALLY?

And what about the men in all of this? They’re not mothers, so we have to assume they’re also cold, calculating weirdos. Being a father just doesn’t count. After all, you never hear a man being asked how he intends to “juggle” fatherhood and career, do you? And you never see a child-free man being lambasted for his choice, told he WILL change his mind, or being called “unnatural”, do you?

No, because it’s only women who are made to feel like failures, no matter what decision they make in life. It’s only women who get to be ALWAYS WRONG, no matter how hard they try to get it right. And it’s only women who take such unadulterated pleasure in bitching about each other. The Sisterhood: ur doin it rong.

The last word* goes to our old friend Carol, who has single-handedly just set the feminist movement back about 50 years:

“So three cheers for the employers who are catching on, the ones who don’t want to people their workforces with the cold, the calculating, the sad and the mad. The only question is: what took you so long? “

Indeed. Three cheers for ignorance, prejudice, bullying and discrimination! There’s no need to give them a warm welcome back to the workplace, though, Carol: thanks to women like you, they never actually left.

(*Whoops, no, it looks like the last word went to me!)

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

books by Amber Eve
  • That writer is well known for writing appalling articles (have a look for the one on her friend’s autistic child if you dare. She closes with – to paraphrase – he should never have been born at all. Nice). And you’re right, whilst we have women sniping like that, how are we ever going to be viewed equally. Well done for the sisterhood, Carol! Still it is the DM, a paper I have successfully weaned myself from reading.

    Btw, when I worked in an office and had to shoot off early to pick up my son, it wasn’t a choice to spend time with him. It was a choice of him being stood outside the school gates alone at five years old or me pick him up or take holiday time during the most expensive peak season because who the hell provides six weeks of ad hoc childcare? Being a mother tends to destroy your career and make your colleagues hate you (even if you do do all your work) which is a large part of why I’m self-employed. My partner on the other hand doesn’t even seem to notice that we’ve had children.

    Anyway, I’ve had enough children for both of us and think a childfree lifestyle sounds rather nice.

    Camilla´s last blog post..Why isn’t life like the movies?

    May 21, 2009
      • Quite agree, thank God we are self-employed. There really should be better flexible working, people would be so much happier.

        <abbr>Camilla´s last blog post..Why isn't life like the movies?</abbr>

        May 21, 2009
  • Oh god. What a despicable article (Carol’s not yours!). Am totally with you on hating the Daily Mail. It’s really is so misogynist and vile. I also agree that it’s a strange world we live in when someone can lambast you for such a personal choice. I’m often told by relatives, well-meaning friends, random people that me and the other half should have children by now as if we’re doing something wrong or letting the side down. (The strange thing is that no-one else ever gives this chat/lecture to the other half!) We’re not married either which is another one of those personal things that people feel they can lecture you about too! Aren’t we awful? 😉

    Zoe, Conversation Pieces´s last blog post..Wallpaper for a grey day

    May 21, 2009
      • That nearly went over my head too… and then I guessed that was your dog 😉 Good retort. Not sure that would work as well for me since I have crazy moggies (one of them is half feral, half pedigree and the other a farm cat that look like a fox). My usual excuse as to why (currently) I prefer cats to babies is that you can't laugh when the baby falls off the couch and gets trapped in a box

        <abbr>Zoe, Conversation Pieces´s last blog post..Wallpaper for a grey day</abbr>

        May 21, 2009
  • Steph


    I don’t know what to say to this except to give you a great big round of applause *gives great big round of applause*. Like you, I am most assuredly not a fan of the Daily Mail but this is even worse than usual. As with most things in life, the decision to have children or not is a very personal matter of preference and circumstance. I can’t stand this idea that there is some kind ideal way in which we all ‘should’ be living – whatever happened to diversity and being able to choose for yourself? I still haven’t decided whether or not I want kids one day (leaning more towards no than yes, though) but I know that neither one is the objectively ‘right’ decision, simply the decision that is right for me.
    Let’s face it, if motherhood turned every woman into a hardworking, selfess compassion machine we wouldn’t have a single case of maternal abuse or neglect – and I’m afraid we all know how common these sorts of things are. If more people seriously sat down and thought about whether or not they were fundamentally suited to raising a child then perhaps we might all be better off. I’d rather Carol Sarler thought I was ‘weird’ than feel pressurised into having a child I didn’t want and then spending the rest of my life feeling that I’d made the wrong decision.
    Anyway, in summation the world is a rich tapestry of diversity and there’s plenty of room for both mothers and non-mothers and neither choice is inherently better than the other.
    But you phrased it much better than I did 😉

    May 21, 2009
  • Great post. I wrote about this very thing (again inspired by the Daily Mail) on Dollymix earlier this week:

    Having a child isn't a right. It's a privilege. It's not one I ever imagine I'll be ready for. I'm pretty selfish. I don't mean that in a bad way, I just like being able to put myself first. I don't think I could handle the responsibility of taking care of another person for a gazillion years. But I'm so impressed with women who can. And I really feel for the woman who would love to have the choice to have children but can't. Are they still cold and calculating?

    I'm saddened that there are some women out there who still think stamping on a woman's choice (NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS LADY!) makes them feel better about themselves. That's the real issue with this woman. It makes me sad. I can't imagine that she's very happy with herself, and her having children isn't going to change that.

    <abbr>Siany´s last blog post..Etsy pick: Golden snitch necklace</abbr>

    May 21, 2009
  • Bravo for such a well-written rebuttal to this obviously insane, bigoted woman. Choosing not to have children IN NO WAY makes one any of those insults listed, just as becoming a mother does not make one a saint. I know plenty of women who got knocked up, but refused to grow up (though I will admit just as freely, that there are plenty where that is not the case). Like you said, people are different and make different choices in life. Why does she think it is an effective use of her time to judge others?

    Hayley´s last blog post..Up to No Good

    May 21, 2009
  • Niina


    That woman is awful but it is true that some women just won't hire childless and single people. I once applied for a children's wear designer position at a company I had been interning already for six months. I didn't get it because I didn't have kids (and yes it was told to me directly). The person who was leaving didn't have any children, had less work experience, was three years younger than me BUT she was married.

    Luckily my family understands that I don't want to have kids. I am the oldest of all us cousins so naturally I was the designated babysitter/nanny. I never just looked after them for couple of hours, I did full 8 hour days. Since I was 11.

    May 21, 2009
      • Yunna


        It looks like it but there are some exceptions from the law.
        The employer can argue that this “selection” is due to the fact that having children for him is a “Genuine Occupational Qualification” – the job involves providing personal services to individuals promoting their welfare, education or similar personal services, which can most effectively be provided by someone who has children.

        May 27, 2009
  • Great piece, Amber. Sarler's article was SO offensive (then again, this is a woman who agreed that Paul Gasgoigne was right to slap his wife around, so what did I expect :—save-Paul-bother.html) – not just to childfree women, but to all of us. I can not understand why women have to tear each other down, and it really depresses me that we can't respect each other's choices. That a mainstream media organisation gleefully encourages this behaviour is upsetting and retrograde in the extreme.

    Awful confession: I was hired by the DM last year to write a piece. (I know, I sold my soul, but I needed cash, what can I say?) The commissioning ed sent me a link to some of Sarler's pieces as a sample of what to aim for. My piece was never published, presumably because I couldn't work myself up into such an offensive state of ire or condone domestic abuse. I take that as a great compliment now, let me tell you. What an endorsement – couldn't get published by the Daily Mail! I might have that on my gravestone or something. x

    <abbr>Diane´s last blog post..Katherine Moennig’s back on the box in Three Rivers and hitting the big screen with Bobby de Niro</abbr>

    May 21, 2009
  • Couldn’t have said it better myself. Excellent post!

    Hilary´s last blog post..The Thing Is…

    May 21, 2009
  • There is nothing I can add to this; you’ve completely shredded her ridiculous mouthing off. Brilliant 🙂

    Toni´s last blog post..IncompetentForce, ParcelFail… You Get The Idea

    May 21, 2009
  • A-MEN sista. And thank you for using the term “child-free.” “Childless” reeks of something lost or removed – in other words, a childless woman is incomplete.

    As a child-free 29-year-old who volunteers at animal shelters, has spent many weekends mentoring gifted children and many years caring for disabled children, I would have to say that NO, BEING CHILD-FREE DOES NOT AN UNCOMPASSIONATE PERSON MAKE.

    Amanda Nicole´s last blog post..a springtime message

    May 21, 2009
  • Thinking about this some more (you bored of me yet?), the worst thing is that now, women everywhere feel the need to justify their choices. Not just to strangers, but to our peers and friends. Already women (including myself) have stated our reasons for not wanting kids – why should we need to justify our private decisions? We shouldn’t need to explain ourselves to anyone, but we are.

    Siany´s last blog post..Etsy pick: Golden snitch necklace

    May 21, 2009
    • God, I just did this exact thing in a blog post – and you’re totally right. I think it’s because the accusations levelled at child-free women are so vile; no one wants to be told they’re “unnatural” and “cold”, and it makes – me, at least – respond rather violently and with excessive ranting!

      It’s all pointless, mind. The child-free haters will just listen, nod politely and then tell me one day I’ll get that desire for a child and all my rationally thought out points will be chucked out of the window.

      We can’t win!

      Toni´s last blog post..The Child Free Choice: One Woman’s Reasons

      May 21, 2009
  • Ugh, that woman is awful. Someone should slap her.

    Anna´s last blog post..Anna’s guide to how not to be annoying on the road

    May 21, 2009
  • Well said, Amber. I couldn’t have done better myself. What an incredibly offensive, ignorant woman.

    Equally irritating comments include ‘tick, tick – that biological clock is running out of time’ and comments intimating that being nearly 30 and not in a relationship makes you an emotionally stunted freak.

    You have to love the way that women support each others’ life choices.

    Sarah Clive´s last blog post..Things are a-happenin in the kitchen…

    May 21, 2009
  • Nikki G


    Wow. Is a woman’s sole worth in life based on her desire to have children? I feel like I have time warped to the 16th century. I should have just forgone college and started spitting out kids when I hit puberty – not.

    May 22, 2009
  • Jasmine


    Yea good point! I went on and read the article and was so disgusted that I had to leave a comment!! I just couldn’t help myself!

    May 22, 2009
  • First off, agree with you 100% right. I could name dozens of mothers that have beaten, tortured, starved, murdered and sold their children for various reasons. I’d like to see where the compassion is. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the definition?

    Second, when someone (who is usually childed) tells me “Oh you’ll change your mind some day” I usually smile, look them in the eye and say “Oh, I’m sure you will too” that throws them off. Quite entertaining.

    Sabrina´s last blog post..Protected: Finally, Some Good News

    May 22, 2009
  • Amy


    Three cheers for you, I really enjoyed your response.

    Never had I thought that not having children, in a time when world overpopulation is such an issue, could be selfish! According to Carol Saler I’ve got it all backwards!

    May 22, 2009
  • I know Gandhi could never have been a mother, considering he was a man. But he did have children, by the way. But I get your point.

    anuroopa´s last blog post..the opinion

    May 22, 2009
  • Aparna


    Having a child is not going to make a woman less bitchy, Carol Sarler being the perfect example. I pity her children, honestly.

    May 22, 2009
  • OMG… What a moron that woman is. She's so way off mark that I really can't take her seriously, and I'm quite confident that she won't be changing anyone's mind on how they see childfree women unless they already think the same way.

    I started thinking that there must be something really badly wrong in her head, like does she actually regret having children and having to work hard, sacrifice and be selfless for them and is angered by the people who have come to think of it before they put themselves into the mess called motherhood… I hope her children are proud of her. 😀 Imagine having a mother like that! I'd be going to school wearing a ski-mask every day! :p

    <abbr>Sebastyne´s last blog post..Childfree bingo</abbr>

    May 22, 2009
      • hahaha what if she doesn't even have any kids and is just completely insane?? 😀

        <abbr>Veronika´s last blog post..Is it love?</abbr>

        May 22, 2009
  • OMG!
    Does that woman live in the stone age?!?
    Women do not need to have children to have a fulfilled life. We are all of the age where we can decide how to control our fertility – that is sometimes a life long decision and sometimes we take breaks and have children. But the clue is there – it is our choice!!!!

    Well done Amber for a well constructed, articulate arguement for the otherside – you blew her out of the water.

    Keep going chick – we support you (and dont think you are cold or calculating – but maybe a little bit mad sometimes).

    Mhairi´s last blog post..Weekly Roudup

    May 22, 2009
  • Hahaha she's such a good writer hahaha "lady, you're weird". liek wtf, could SHE be any weirder?? have to read the rest of your article, have just read the part before the "rest of this story" but had to comment.. that's..just..insane of her to be writing this..

    <abbr>Veronika´s last blog post..Is it love?</abbr>

    May 22, 2009
  • Okaaay and what about alcoholic abusive mothers? (note: not that I actually KNOW anything about that either but there are some cases of this, one crazy "selfless" mother murdered her two children not long ago here in the Czech republic, it was all over the news, scary and v.horrible..). Also what about women who have both children and careers? is that what she is praising or is that bad too? Like my Mum, love her, love love love her, but after a while of taking care of us non-stop, she decided to go back to work. (She's a doctor btw – crazy work hours..) so my older sister and brother, we kinda took care of ourselves but I think it was great. We lived in a foreign country and all had our share of trouble but we did it our way..

    Carol Crazy would have hated us. :))

    <abbr>Veronika´s last blog post..Is it love?</abbr>

    May 22, 2009
  • Emily I.


    I stayed home to raise our son and to my surprise, enjoyed it very much. However, if I am going to tell other people the number of children they should bear I should be willing to help them in the middle of the night when the child is sick, baby sit at a moments notice and commit to raise their child if they die. So far that would be, um, let’s see…none.

    My cousin and her husband desperately wanted children but had infertility issues. She underwent painful and costly procedures, and they were on waiting lists for adoption, so when people told them they should have children it was particularly hurtful. Her husband would respond with, “What a great idea! Could you excuse us for about 20 minutes?”

    May 22, 2009
  • ayemiy


    My favourite bit of her article was the picture caption;

    "Carol believes she can always pick which female staff have children"…

    Yeah, well, Carol's a prat.

    May 22, 2009
  • What a ridiculous, poorly written and poorly argued article. But after browsing through the titles of the author’s other articles, I have the feeling that she writes these with the specific intention of getting people all riled up. It’s possible the Daily Mail is also using her for shock value.

    So although I don’t blame you at all for being upset – the article was very offensive – try not to let it eat at you too much. Humor is our best defense against stupid people who spend their time creating little pockets of hate in the world. 🙂

    Kelley´s last blog post..Cat in Progress, 1

    May 22, 2009
  • That lady is an idiot. I admire people who don’t want kids because they are smart. They’ve thought it through. There are plenty of people out there who have kids and mistreat them.

    Also, if I was a boss, I’d prefer people who don’t have kids. Because I hate, as a single person with no kids, how that it is perfectly OK for a parent to take loads of time off from work to tend to kids, but God forbid I have to come in late because I had a doctor’s appointment.

    Kristabella´s last blog post..Mary Jane, I Am Not In Love With You

    May 22, 2009
  • xony


    It's a rather stupid thing to say that women who have no children are "cold and calculating". Supose she meant that they have no maternal instinct, thus they have no "human touch" wich is a really REALLY stupid affirmation, mainly because all women have a maternal instinct! Maybe not aimed at "omgIsowantkids", but it's there. It kicks in when our boyfriend gets sick, when we take care of a pet, when we are specially attentive to someone's well-being, even when we water a plant to keep it from dying we're showing some kind of selflessness, compassion and commitment!

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting any kids, and it certainly has no conection at all with your work ethic or skills!

    When I was younger I used to think what woman wouldn't want to be a mother, but as I grew up I realised that parenthood is not for everyone (for personal choice or any other reason), and that doesn't make you "weird" or mean or stupid or lazy, it makes you an INDIVIDUAL!

    May 22, 2009
  • WOW. That's just shocking! My wife and I are both child-free DINKS (dual-income, no-kids) and happily married for 9 years. In the eyes of many, that somehow makes us selfish, unholy, inhumane, communists, you name it. This article is so offensive on so many levels, I'm not even sure where to start. We've been child free for enough reasons to fill a book. This bitch is trying to sum it up in a few paragraphs. I truly feel sorry for this woman's children. Just because you can reproduce doesn't mean you should!

    <abbr>TwoCrabs´s last blog post..We're famous in Germany</abbr>

    May 23, 2009
  • Myra


    Wow! I have never seen you so passionate in print before. This woman, Sarler, does something I can never understand! Judge others! Why! and Why women! Has she had a bypass in feminist and/or cultural mores? However, I have never read anything she has written, nor read The Daily Mail, but there is a series of articles in The Times and Sunday Times written by a child free writer (very witty and articulate), along with other articles which portray the other side of the debate – people's right to choose. So this topic must be high in the social awareness stakes at the moment. I agree with you when you say that you may change your mind in the future, and I think when people say this to you they are trying to share the experience of the completely overwhelming maternal instinct that some women experience. Believe me I found there is nothing that is more pressing and devastating if and when you do experience it. It resulted in me crying in supermarkets and in the street, because wherever you look there seem to be babies (your attention is drawn to whatever is uppermost in your heart and mind at the time – and you may or may not experience that feeling in the future, but that will be for you and you alone to make a decision about if it ever happens, although I know you will take your husband's feelings into account as well. For you at the moment it may be fabulous shoes and clothes which make your heart sing – and I perfectly understand that, because it did mine in my younger days, and sometimes even now I still feel wonderful with a new purchase, but not all women do. As you rightly say women are all different and we should celebrate that – we should be thankful for all the wonderful women and men we know who are different from us as we can learn from them. You know the pain one of my family experienced with infertility and I know you had compassion for her. So, one final question – although I admire your spirited response, why waste your energy on someone who is clearly so prejudiced and biased that she is not worthy or comment? With much love from a different woman to a woman of great personal strength. PS I think you spoke for many women.

    May 23, 2009
      • Myra


        Interestingly, when my family member finally succeeded in having a baby she felt that women (mothers) reacted to her very differently. Suddenly, it seemed that she had joined the club – they could understand her now. Until then she felt that she was an enigma to other women, that there was a gulf between them. Then strangers, even close neighbours, who had never spoken to her before invited her into their homes.

        May 25, 2009
  • Rock Hyrax


    You know how sometimes you write about the maniacs who come out at full moon and hurl vicious personal and profane abuse at you at the bottom of an item about harem pants or somthing? Well I almost turned into one of those at that so-called writer's article (except that I'd have had good reason). Can I just post a comment with a link to this one instead?

    I've also gone through the "ah, you're still young – you'll want one by the time you're thirty" phase through to just being judged as "unusual" (as my mother puts it). I like your Bichon Frise answer – have to admit I'll end up wanting one if you post many more pictures of Rubin 😉

    May 23, 2009
  • Oh god… I’m appalled. But the world is just full of people like what’s-her-face. I’ve been married for two years, and we still don’t have any children. My husband and I have noticed that people tend to look at us like we’re some kind of monsters when we tell them that – yes, we want children, we’re just not ready yet. I can only imagine the reactions when you say that you don’t want to have any… How you’ve managed to avoid being lynched, I honestly don’t know….

    May 24, 2009
  • Bravo, couldn’t be more proud of you. (Well actually could, but you know what I mean)

    Mum´s last blog post..Kathleen Hills Rolling Pin and Pastry Decorating Tips from Realtor.

    May 24, 2009
  • Moni


    I have recently turned 35 and am still waiting for the moment when I will finally feel like I’m an adult. So what am I supposed to do with a child?
    Apart from the fact that my life so far didn’t run as smoothly as I hoped it would, and that I’m not as financially solid as I’d like to be, I LOVE being able to plan my time according to my personal likings without always having to find somebody to watch my children, just because I want to go to the cinema once in a while. Besides, I have a lot of time-consuming hobbies (Role playing, Square Dance), which I DO NOT want to give up (and not be able to take up again any time soon) just to belong to a “norm” I don’t want to belong to.
    Sure, I do feel my biological clock ticking. Yes, my body wants to finally become pregnant, but that means getting a baby->child->teenager you’ll never get rid of again. And as long as I cringe at the thought of changing diapers, playing silly finger-games and dragging a screaming toddler with me through the mall, that pregnancy thing is just not going to happen.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for every woman who actually decides to have children. It’s one of the biggest adventures of our time and a decision you can’t take back. But it’s just not for me, and I won’t let anybody tell me what I should do with MY life.
    Thanks for listening. 🙂

    May 25, 2009
  • As a fellow child-free person I salute your stand. However, since your blog is most entertaining when you're vexed, I do slightly regret that you're turning down the opportunity for decades of material.

    May 25, 2009
  • Katie


    Hi Amber,

    Great article (yours, not hers) as a fellow child free ginger I have to say we should get some sort of disability allowance if we are so mad, bad, ugly, desperate, sad, uncaring people. After my husband and I got married it tok my mother in law 5 weeks to ask when we were going to have a child and when we said never she did the whole "you're young and change your mind" bit. My parents understand a bit more and don't want to put pressure on us, but their faces when they see our friends children just kills me they want one so much.

    So I guess I am a bad person for not giving my parents what they want. But since in all likelyhood it would be ginger I'd just have to drown it anyway cause it would be so ugly and deformed…

    Keep it up!

    Katie x

    May 26, 2009
  • Squib


    I've only skimmed through the above comments, so I may be repeating what others have stated, but yes: this was an article for the DAILY MAIL, which will never host a mild, intelligent opinion in its lifetime. So, a pinch of salt for that.

    But then again, I currently work in an office where a genuine topic of interest amongst the (married, mothering) women is: "Who will be next to fall pregnant?" The recently married young lawyer was the safe bet, seemingly. She's been beaten to it by 2 older men (& their respective partners) though.

    As someone wrote above, it's like we're in a time warp. Like suffrage, property ownership for wimmin and the advent of the Pill/contraception never existed. It has only been 40 years or so since the latter breakthrough – which in the scheme of things is a short period of time for society to respond wholesale to – but I am astonished that the birth-rate has not fallen off in any signficant way, as a result.

    I AM impatiently waiting for any nearest & dearest person – anyone will do really – to fall pregnant, so I can start knitting baby clothes. *That* impulse has sprung up on me recently, all unawares. Such cute tiny outfits! But nothing pink & lacy, mind. Oh no: it'll be retro sailor-outfits, purple & black rompers, and booties made to look like strawberries from me.


    May 28, 2009
  • Claire


    I agree with you entirely. I share your desire for no children and have had many of the same experiences. My mother says knowing what she knows now, she not only would've chosen not to have kids, but also not to get married. To each his/her own, but I do not appreciate assessments about my character being made based purely on my choice to remain childless.

    Bravo, Amber, on telling this woman what's what. I bet she wears drop crotch pants as well as being a presumptuous bitch.

    July 27, 2009
    • Claire


      Also, it really annoys me when people like this woman act like its selfish not to have kids when the true selfishness comes in when people choose to have biological children purely to carry on thier "fabulous" genes while there are tons of orphans in need of homes already. Plus, when Carol states that mothers are always to work on time, that is utter bullshit. They are the ones with dual responsibility that have to split their efforts between work and child rearing. Also, they are often the ones complaining the most, not to mention the pregnancy leaves and time of work due to sick children/child-related activities.


      July 27, 2009
  • Mark


    Brilliant piece, Amber! Very articulate and witty to boot!

    I must say, I agree with you entirely save this one line:

    “And you never see a child-free man being lambasted for his choice, told he WILL change his mind, or being called “unnatural”, do you?”

    I AM a boy/man/thing and am presently being lambasted by my very own girlfriend due to my absolute disinclination to have children. Yes, apparently I’m selfish, weird, unnatural AND DON’T HAVE A CHOICE! The above sentiments are clearly NOT reserved solely for un-(c)lucky women!

    July 19, 2011
  • It astounds me how the Daily Mail persists in being considered a “woman’s paper” and has a dedicated section which claims to devote itself to women’s issues when these so-called “women’s issues” appear to consist entirely of bitching-either about celebrity weight fluctuations or other women’s choices-usually the choice to forego a career and start popping out babies as soon as they’ve completed their schooling. What woman would seriously want to read any of this tripe?

    I have never read an article in the Daily Mail and ended up feeling anything but suicidal. I completely agree with your point about how women need to stop putting other women down as a matter of course before we can be truly equal, and this paper simply proves that we still have a long way to go.

    July 24, 2011
  • Jenny


    Hi Amber!

    I know this was posted a while ago but I had to reply because I think you’re utterly fabulous and completely right in what you say about this article. I despise the Daily Mail with a passion. My new year’s reso was never to read it as I always came away feeling very low and pondering the state of society today. I am childfree and always have been. As an almost-27 year old, I have been told countless times I’ll change my mind. The prospect that my mind might change scares the sh*t out of me but I am pretty certain it won’t and if it does then adoption it is! I would feel completely at peace with my choice were it not for society and the media. I am naturally CF. I don’t dislike children, but I don’t go out of my way to spend time with them and I find puppies and kittens a million times cuter. I didn’t realise that my choice was such an issue until a colleague told me that I am a woman = I have a womb = I MUST have a baby. I find it ridiculous that such a personal choice has to constantly be questioned. So, the 15 year old that got knocked up down the road from me is a better representation of womankind than I am? So be it! Anyway, sorry for the rant but sometimes it can feel like I’m alone with my decision not to have children and I cried reading the responses to this blog post because there ARE people like me! You’re fabulous, wonderful and beautiful Amber, a terrific writer and by no means cold, calculating, sad OR mad. Jen xoxo P.S. I am also a redhead and it’s my favourite features but I must say yo have the most beautiful red hair ever!

    September 17, 2011
  • What an idiot. I feel sorry for the people around her. There are far too many dipsticks like her in this world

    June 8, 2014
  • Lucy


    WTF? I always knew the Daily Mail is mostly an unbelievably huge pile of bullshit, but this one just takes the cake.
    I assume this Carol person is a mother- well, she doesn’t sound “selfless” or “warm-hearted” at all.
    Kudos to you, Amber, for pointing out how people can be hurtful and demeaning to others for all kinds of reasons.
    As long as articles like Carol’s get published, we’re never gonna get so much as a hint of equality. *sighs*

    April 11, 2015
  • Hi Amber, my daughter, Eva, is named after a very dear friend of my parents, who did not have children of her own and therefore had a lot of time to spare to help look after me for huge amounts of time when my parents were going through a very messy divorce. She was a great influence and inspiration to me, so much that I named my daughter after her. She enjoyed a brilliant career as an economist, she wrote several books, was wonderfully glamourous and interestingly, a redhead(!!)…
    I wonder what Carol would make of her??

    May 10, 2015
  • Who the hell is that woman, Carol, anyway? Jesus… what a total cow bag (I was going to write something else but thought better of it). I don’t have any kids and I’m probably happier than some of my friends that do. Some have even admitted they wished they hadn’t had kids. And most always moan about not having any money because they have kids. I love my life the way way it is. And that means I love being a wife and not a mother. And I must admit, I LOVE finding other lifestyle & fashion blogs written by women who don’t have kids. There are way too many ‘mommy/mummy blogs’ out there – drives me mad sometimes! Okay, rant over.
    It’s lovely to find you, Amber (it was actually via Not Dressed as Lamb).
    Suzy x

    September 18, 2015
  • Amber, I love your blog anyway – it is an oasis of lovely things and always a great read – but this post especially hits home! I’ve shared a link to it in the private forum of the Childfree Women UK & Ireland social network – I thought the other CF ladies on there would appreciate reading it as much as I did. Support on this issue is usually US-centric, so it’s refreshing to see a counterpoint to the negative spin over on this side of the pond – thank you for writing about this! El x

    November 1, 2015
  • Timothy Vince


    I suspect many employers are wary of the childfree because they’re so much harder to control. Someone without a family tying them down is going to have a far easier time moving to better jobs, as well as a vastly increased ability to save up F*** You Money and potentially retire early, or at least quit at the drop of a hat with several years living costs covered.

    April 23, 2019