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I operate an Internet radio show that seeks to help independent entertainers and artists promote their projects.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Adventures in Childlessness:

The knee-jerk assumption of many parents is that childless couples have it easy. Sitters, doctors’ visits, and 4AM hockey practices aren’t things that need to be taken into consideration when planning one’s week. Then there is the whole disposable income situation which even I’ll concede is pretty cool. Speaking as a childless person, however, I can also say that we have more heavy lifting to do than we let on.

Mobility’s Catch-22:

By definition, if you don’t have kids, you have more time on your hands. The other component to the equation is that other people also know that you have more time available.

I have been involved in situations with co-workers where I’ve been asked to be a team player and take on extra tasks so that they could make their kids’ next pageant, practice, party or pick-up deadline. I try to put things into perspective and write such requests off as an opportunity to shine in front of management. In most cases, you don’t really have an excuse to say “no” so, arguing about it becomes a moot point.

My question to the childless people out there is thus an honest (albeit selfish) one. Should our needs matter any less? Ever have a really rough day where all you could think about was getting home and curling up with your favorite book or movie? Ever have plans to meet friends in the city after work? How about a set of errands that you promised your wife or husband you’d run on the way home? Snow storms and freezing rain are just as dangerous for us to drive in, aren’t they?

Our freedom should not come at the expense of being branded as everyone else’s designated hitter – noble a title as that is. That kind of support should be available altruistically - not expected implicitly. I will go so far as to say that most parents are very fair when it comes to this but, there is a minority that can and do take advantage of their family status.

The Price of Peace & Quiet:

The travel and leisure industries really do place those with families at an advantage. Everywhere you look there are special promotions that cater to a family of 4 on everything from events to restaurants to travel. Kids under 12 eat/stay free, 25% off tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids – it’s all over the place. A couple wanting to attend the same event or eat in the same restaurant, however, is expected to pay full price.

Traveling to a place or dining in a restaurant that specifically does cater to “adults only” now carries a costly premium. Running under the assumption that we do have the money to spend, it does make sense to charge us more. This having been said, why not take a page out of how most casinos run things and reward the high rollers? Resorts and restaurants know that we’re going to these places to enjoy ourselves in the first place. Why not offer a little incentive to get us there? I promise you, we’ll come out in droves and likely be motivated to cough up a few extra bucks.

The Birthday Party Circuit or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barf

When your friends and family members start having families of their own, their schedules essentially get thrown out the window – especially when the kids are younger. Dinner parties or nights out become extremely rare and hot commodities. The childless couple, however, gets a new item added to their social calendar - “the birthday party circuit”.

My wife, bless her heart, is exponentially better at these things than I am. I’ve never been a roll-around-on-the-carpet kind of guy but, I have made peace with the fact that I’m likely to come into my groove as (gag) “Uncle Casey” when the little people's ages hit double digits.

As a guy, I’ve found that the key to surviving kids’ parties is to try to find the humor in certain situations. I first referenced this in the "Kindergarten Nonsense" article that I wrote for Rachel Thompson. If you can’t entertain others, entertain yourself.

Thanks to my friends, I’m now somewhat of a subject matter expert on drinkable apple sauce. I can answer any questions that you may have about the nutritional value, how the ingenious packaging keeps kids busy for hours on end and why some flavors are more popular than others. After listening to one debate between two dads that raged for over a solid hour, I curiously picked up one of the open containers and dragged a small drop of the neon colored slime onto my pinkie finger. Quite scientifically I tasted it and opined that it would probably be a lot better with vodka.

At another gathering, my cousin’s young son (whom I’ll call Max) had one too many hot dogs at dinner but, still insisted on inhaling a large piece of chocolate cake. With little more warning than “uh-oh”, I quickly found my feet blanketed in vomit. Having a notoriously weak stomach for this type of thing, I charged off to the bathroom and got violently ill myself. When I got back, Max, to his credit, was legitimately concerned for my welfare. “It’s OK, Casey – I feel all better now!” he chirped.

My deadpanned response is still being quoted over 5 years later: “Max, dude, you have no clue how happy that makes me.”

When everybody else has their “baby blinders” on, enjoy any opportunity you get to be the comic relief. Remember that many of the funniest moments on The Tonight Show involved a small animal pissing on or assaulting Johnny Carson. Just make sure to bring a change of clothes and lots of Tylenol.


  1. For people who have children - I assume it is by choice (whether it is or not is none of my business, but once you have them, the deed is done).

    Along with that choice comes responsibility, which means taking care of your OWN children. I'm flabbergasted if co-workers with children should get any special treatment at your expense because you don't have kids. What if you had elderly parents to look after, houseplants to water, goldfish to feed? If you want to be a nice guy and help out, that's great, but it should never be expected just because you don't have children of your own.

    I don't have kids ... it would've been nice but it didn't happen. The up side is many of the things you mentioned - peace and quiet, sleep, more time on my hands. I don't, however, get to have the pleasures that parents have -- unconditional love, passing on wisdom, re-living one's youth through a child's eyes. Again, it comes down to choices and/or acceptance of how things are.

    I agree with you about comic relief though. Kids are funny - I'd laugh my ass off if a kid ever vomited on me.

    Great post, Casey,


    1. Thanks, Eden. You raise some poignant points about missing out on all the good stuff that parents get to enjoy. My wife and I are reminded of that at every stop we make on "the birthday circuit". I guess you can chalk it up to a little more of the heavy lifting that we have to do. For us it was a matter of acceptance but, take comfort in knowing that there is still a great deal of fun to be had :-)

  2. Uhm... I don't know how it is in your society over in the US, but here, in Germany, we tend to see children as the investment into our society's future. Hence, having and raising children is not a totally private thing, it's something we do for everyone, and we are therefore rewarded by getting free kindergarten, schools, universities (yes, ALL universities!) and a comprehensive and FREE medical care for all children, regardless of the parents' income or status. These children are the ones who will uphold our old-age pensions and take over our jobs some day to keep the economy going. So yes, I think it's totally okay for everyone to chip in, be it with tolerance, or with their hard-earned money.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Miriam. My message really was just to highlight the fact that childless couples have their own unique set of life challenges to face which sometimes aren't entirely obvious to those who are so blessed as to have kids. Tolerance and acceptance should be afforded to all of us.

  3. Hi "Uncle" Casey!

    I'm catching up on reading blogs and yours is a great post.

    I'm lucky enough that I don't work with people who expect me to do "extra" just because I don't have children. Unfortunately, I do see favoritism given to those with kids.

    I loved your scientific experiment. LOL! Everything (well, almost everything) tastes better with vodka!


    1. Thanks, Casey :)

      I've been thinking about jotting a few thoughts on "childlessness" down for a while. I'm surprised at the amount of feedback I've received. It's encouraging to know that it got people talking.

  4. HA HA I love your angle on this one Casey and I for one think EVERYTHING tastes better with Tequila and NOT Vodka but that's personal preference really.
    I do have kids but never expect anyone to pick up the slack for me, if you have children they are your own pleasure (or pain sometimes thinking of the terrible two's now!) and you're responsibility to care for them lies ultimately with yourself.
    Luckily for me I would have survived unscathed during the vomit attack, as a trained Children's Nurse I cope with puke extremely well (that is except my own)