The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men

By Patricia Lunneborg | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
Staying the Way We Are

Childless adults have always come under close scrutiny from parents in our society who cannot imagine any other way of life. But nonparenting adults are very much like anyone else. They enjoy happy marriages, they buy homes, they care about their neighborhoods and communities. They enjoy the traditions of the holidays, contribute their time and money to charities, work hard at their careers. ( Leslie Lafayette, 1995, p. 76)

Consider the following quote. "Once a woman faces her personality and her past and makes the decision not to have a child, she confronts another equally daunting task: on what is she going to base her identity as a woman and as a person now that she has renounced the traditional defining role? What is her relation to a society of parents and families? What will give her life meaning?" ( Safer, 1996, p. 143).

Could this be said of men? From what I learned in this project, I'd have to say "no," unequivocably--these words do not apply to childfree men. No such daunting task faces voluntarily childless men. They settle comfortably into the identities they already have, relieved of the necessity to change their personalities to be more patient, childcentered, and conservative about career change. The men were happy as they were and they felt no need to have children. In fact, holding on to the identities they'd already forged was a popular motive for remaining childless, whereas Jeanne Safer says a woman who chooses not to be a mother must forge an alternative feminine identity.

To illustrate what about their identities they didn't want to change, we'll start with Jerry.

-97-

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The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter 1- Not to Be a Father? 1
  • Chapter 2- Personal Development 13
  • Chapter 3- Relationships 25
  • Chapter 4- Work and Money 37
  • Chapter 5- At Home 47
  • Chapter 6- Avoiding Mistakes 55
  • Chapter 7- Not Liking Kids 67
  • Chapter 8- Early Retirement 75
  • Chapter 9- Avoiding Stress 85
  • Chapter 10- Staying the Way We Are 97
  • Chapter 11- Mixed Feelings 105
  • Chapter 12- Men and Overpopulation 113
  • Chapter 13- The Father Connection 121
  • Chapter 14- To Sum Up 129
  • Appendix Reasons Why People Say No to Kids 137
  • References 139
  • Index 141
  • About the Author *
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