Workplace Conflicts Up, Birth Rates Down, More Holiday Survival Tips

Today’s post is a shiny gift bag full of interesting events and posts in the childless community.

1) On the Childless by Marriage Facebook page, I recently shared a post that riled some readers. Let’s see what you think.

“This Mom Ran Out Of Vacation Days, Asked Her Kid-Free Coworker To Give Her Some, And Now The Co-Worker Is Asking If She’s An A**hole For Saying No”

Before you go crazy, you should know that the mom used up her paid time off dealing with her brother’s death and her daughter’s illness. I don’t know why the company didn’t offer some kind of bereavement leave. I mean, she lost her brother. But should she expect a co-worker to give up her paid time off because she doesn’t have children and presumably doesn’t need those days as much as someone with kids? If you read past the annoying ads to the end of the story, you’ll see that her co-workers came up with a pretty good solution.

But what do you think? Have you ever been asked to sacrifice your time off because a co-worker with kids needed a break? What is or would be your reaction? Does your employer have policies to deal with these situations? All of us have times when we need to take off to deal with family emergencies or our own needs, not to mention needing a vacation now and then. How can companies make it fair?

2) A recent Pew Survey found that 44% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 who aren’t parents say it is not too likely or not at all likely that they will have children—an increase of 7 percentage points from 2018. That’s a big percentage. You might want to read this axios piece for the details, but here are some highlights.

  • 19.6 percent of Americans between 55 and 64 reported being childless, compared to 15.9 percent of those 65-74 and 10.98 percent of those over 75.
  • There are more dogs than children in San Francisco.
  • Fears about the environment and the general state of the world are seriously impacting fertility rates.

A related article, “Poll: More Americans Don’t Plan on Having Kids,” looks at the reasons people stated for not having children. A surprising 56 percent said they “just didn’t want to.” Here are their other reasons:

  • Medical reasons: 19%
  • Financial reasons: 17%
  • Don’t have a partner: 15%
  • Age or partner’s age: 10%
  • State of the world: 9%
  • Environmental reasons: 5%
  • Partner doesn’t want kids: 2%

What would you or your partner say to this question?

3) I heard a great podcast last week. “Single, Childless, and/or Struggling? 10 Tips for Surviving the Holidays,” offered at the Sara Avant Stover podcast, gives some great suggestions. It’s only 20 minutes. Give it a listen.

Have I given you too much this week? Maybe I have. It’s almost Christmas. I’m feeling generous. As always, I welcome your comments. Feel free to be as opinionated as you please. And if you want to write something longer than a paragraph, how about submitting a guest post for the blog?

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Does having children take the romance out of marriage?

Are you or your partner hesitant to have children because of the effect it would have on your marriage?

I’m reading this book called Marriage Confidential: Love in the Post-Romantic Age by Pamela Haag. It’s not about childlessness, but about marriage. It’s very interesting, and it makes me feel about a hundred years old. Apparently things have changed since I got married in the last century.

In Haag’s view, marriages alter irrevocably with the arrival of children. Instead of focusing on each other, the mother and father turn all their attention to the children. They become sexless partners in the business of raising children. One of my favorite lines is: “As far as erotic charge goes, one day you’re sleeping with a lover-husband, and the next you might as well be in bed with a toaster.” In this age of two-income families and “helicopter parenting,” Haag suggests, there is no time or energy left for each other, or for a social life outside the family.The romance goes away.

I think back on my marriage to Fred. We acted like newlyweds for over 25 years. If we had had children, would that romantic feeling have been destroyed? Is that part of what happened to his first marriage? I’ll never know. I do know that when I was raising my two puppies, everything was about the dogs, and I sometimes made their needs a higher priority than Fred’s needs. Would it have been even worse with children? I don’t know. Maybe this is just how it’s supposed to be; you have children and marriage morphs into something different–but not necessarily something bad.

What do you think? Have you ever experienced this or worried about it happening? Is this why your partner doesn’t want to have children?