We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's a strange premise, though. There is little that makes life easier about having kids. Perhaps when you're in your 80s kids can make your life easier, if you're lucky. Having kids is not about your convenience or career. It's about creating family. Life is easy without family.
I can never get rid of my feeling that many who choose not to have children are selfish deep down. Which I think is a shame b/c we could all use some humbling in our lives. You learn a lot about yourself when you have a baby. One of which is your needs are so much less important than your baby's.
Without that experience, I do think many adults continue to be children for decades and never are able to see outside of their bubble.
Being a parent is one of the great experiences in life. Without it, I think you miss out.
"Many academic women are alone and bitter about the toll academe has taken on their personal lives"
Gimme a break. Once tenure is achieved, life in the faculty lane is a cakewalk. MissT is right about the "selfishness" part. It applies double to academics: can't let any little darlings interfere with the career. Sorry, but I know from personal experience that the really good ones---not the fake ones on the margins---not only manage to balance an academic career with a life outside the university but create ways for each to support the other.
As for why women constitute more than half of all degree candidates but only about a quarter of all tenured faculty: perhaps it's news to the investigators, but are they aware that there's no mandatory retirement age for college faculty? That a lot of the decrepit old dead wood refuses to resign their LIFETIME tenured appointments? Could it be that the job seekers these days far outnumber the job quitters? I submit the college faculty "plumbing" is all stopped up with useless garbage today and the schools need a plumber to come in to unplug the drain.
--i've got four kids --grown, whew! --and so far four grandkids --and mid-60s already am beginning to feel that since my ''do'' is objectively ''done'' insofar as my place in nature is biologically (that's 'bio -logic') concerned, well, i'm sorta surplus --'in the way' --now. It's a new and very strange feeling. It's not coming in from outside, it's self-generating in the affrontal lobe somewhere, and is distinctly Castanedian in its unornamented practicality --it's the Third Act, and there is no if and or but about it.
But if don't have children, how do you open the Second Act?
Since the First Act --the coming and raising of you your own self, you the opener of your parent's second act --is all play and no work, can that just be the whole play?
--it can suck with 'em too. Just look around --the suckiness cometh without condition, without form or substance, like little cat's feet drifting in through the window instead of the fog you were expecting.
There will always be suckiness in life. If it isn't caused by poorly raised children, then you will find in work, politics, friendships, etc. Interacting with human beings is what makes life challenging. Most of us get the reward of parenting a good kid who grows into a good adult.
But those who have no children never will even come close to knowing what that feels like in their other human relationships.
Why do you think so many childless people (young, old and also gay) have cats and dogs they treat like babies? Because part of the human experience is caring for and raising a child. We wouldn't long for that, if it weren't a natural state of being human.