The "Breeder" Shoe on the Other Foot
Check out this post on The Childfree Life. What poster "selfishwoman" experienced exemplifies what can happen when people make assumptions, and why some childfree can get criticized for "breeder" talk....
First, here is "selfishwoman"'s post:
"I was baby sitting my friend Babb's 14mo old today to give her a little sanity break, and I took him to the park. We were playing in a shady area of the lawn, and some people decided to come by, and started to play catch. One of the wussier guys failed to catch the ball and it rolled within about 10 ft of the baby, who started to try toddling towards it, but I picked him up before he reached it and started walking back to our blanket, and this jerk said 'You washed that kid's hands, right?'
I stopped and said, 'Don't worry. He didn't touch your ball.'
The guy said <swear word> breeder.' So I said, 'No, I'm child free by choice, and watching this kid for a sick friend, and he didn't do a thing to you. If you're so worried about germs, why don't you learn to catch the ball, so it doesn't roll in the <swear word> dirt.'
His eyes got wide when I said 'child free by choice.' His friends laughed, and I overheard his friend say later, 'Well, <swear word>. You blew that. Offended the only child free woman you've ever met in person.'
OK the guy was out of line, to be sure. But seeing her with the child it's easy to assume that she was the child's mother, yes? This idea brought to mind one of Miguel Ruiz's "agreements" his book, The Four Agreements: "Make No Assumptions." This is a very powerful book, and living by this assumption can be particularly challenging. It's so easy to assume we are interpreting a situation correctly and then behaving according to that assumption, only to find out we are wrong about it. In this case, had he not made the assumption she was the mother, he would not have chosen such a bad way to communicate with her.
And in this case, the guy's assumption was not only wrong, but his response was one of the reasons the childfree get flack for the "breeder" talk. I have never been a big fan of the "breeder" lingo--because it seems to only serve to continue a divide between those with children and without, and connotes judgment, which doesn't foster mutual understanding.
Selfishwoman experienced what it might be like for parents to get the breeder bit in a bad way, and rightly put this rude guy in his place. I ponder what would happen if we abandoned the breeder lingo altogether--at least calling parents that in public forums--do you think doing this would foster more acceptance of the childfree?
Childfree author of Families of Two
blogging at La Vie Childfree
book reviewing at LiveTrue Books