Childfree Livin’ Hits the Big TIME: And People Just Can’t Deal
People are all hot and bothered by this month’s TIME Magazine article, The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children. And I’m fairly certain this cover photo is to blame:
Is it not one of the most tranquil images you’ve ever come across? Lovely as this scene is, I’m not sure it’s terribly representative of the true Childfree life. It seems a little more like the Childfree life that parents imagine us living. Where there’s little else floating through our heads than:
- Which quinoa salad shall I pick up from Whole Foods tonight?
- Why is Lululemon perpetually out of size 2 Long yoga pants?
The Childfree people quoted in the article aren’t really helping the image. There’s much talk of sleeping in and going out for drinks, and one writer on LifeNews.com latches on to this in her article with this commentary on the Childfree couple from Knoxville:
Leah “commits her time to working on her own creative projects and starting up a bakery.” Her husband writes a blog and works in customer service at a credit card-processing company. Ahem. Ahem hem. Does anyone else feel like one day Leah and Paul might find the grief for the family they never had far outweighs their grief over blogging and baking? Hey, it may sound nuts to me to give up the most creative project of all – baby-making – to write blogs and bake, but then that’s me. Who am I to judge?
Um…is that not a perfect example of judging? I digress.
The thing is, Leah and Paul are entitled to blog and bake their brains out if it’s what makes them happy. Same thing goes for wild shopping sprees and tandem bicycle riding, or whatever else it is that the world thinks the Childfree are doing to wind up with this perpetually glazed over, placid look of the couple on the cover.
Could I ever be that woman? With a gallon of broad spectrum 55 and a product Spanx has yet to invent, perhaps. I do live in Southern California, after all. If I wanted to, I could pick up my own stylish teal one-piece and be out there every weekend, livin’ it up the way TIME expects me to. Instead I spend way too many hours whisking eggs and butter over a double-boiler for failed lemon curd cheesecakes. I pace in front of the piano I bought two years ago and berate myself for not yet signing up for lessons. I walk dogs at the shelter and try to understand the myriad life circumstances that could lead someone to abandon a perfectly wonderful poodle, and I cry like a maniac when one of my favorites gets adopted. I dust off old drafts of my novels and ride the emotional rollercoaster from “this is gold” to “this is crap” in a matter of pages. I hop on flights for weddings, meeting babies, housewarmings, and sometimes, just because I miss the people who seem to be continually moving away from LA in hot pursuit of suburbia. I search Etsy for obscure beer brewing paraphernalia to buy Christmas gifts six months early for my dad. I plan game nights and dinners at ungodly hours and family-friendly concerts in the park to try and keep my friend group together as the babies start piling up. I work a little too hard at the day-job thing, and think about it a little too much outside of cubicle hours. I drive up to UCLA once a week to sit in classroom and try to remember why I used to love writing.
I’ll never have that cover woman’s serene little smile. Maybe I’m just no good at relaxing. Maybe I’m not destined to enjoy the Childfree life. Or maybe, just maybe, the Childfree life is way more complicated than this little beach scene suggests.
Photo credit: TIME Magazine