Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm Okay, You're a Brat

I've decided I'm going to start periodically publishing reviews of childfree books on this blog, under the theory that hopefully if you enjoy my blog, you'll enjoy some of the same books I have liked. I've read quite a few books on this subject and am always looking for more (if you have any good recommendations, let me know!)

Susan Jeffers's I'm Okay, You're a Brat was the first "childfree" book I ever read. Actually, I'm not sure it can totally be referred to as "childfree" literature, since the author has kids (much to her apparent regret). But the childfree community is definitely one of the groups this book is directed to, and the childfree would definitely enjoy it. I was already leaning toward not having children before I read this book, but this was definitely one of the pieces of literature that was instrumental in cementing my decision.

I'm Okay, You're a Brat mainly deals with the downside of parenting: how hard it is, how much it changes one's life, and how much of a shock it can be if you don't truly realize what you're in for. If everyone read this book before they had kids, I'm convinced that many people would give it a second thought. The longest chapter in the book is chapter two, which deals with all of the life changes parents have to go through, including the partial or total loss of freedom, sleep, mobility, privacy, money, career opportunities, camaraderie, sanity, self-esteem, personal time, relationships, peace of mind, and fun. Whoa! No thanks.

I also found chapter three, which is an entire chapter devoted to exposing how deeply a baby can change a marriage, quite convincing. This chapter presents the idea that people get married because they like "the package," i.e., they like the way it is. They like spending time together, having sex together, and relating to each other. But once a baby comes into the picture, the "package" changes drastically, which not all marriages can handle.

I won't go through every chapter, but those were a couple I found particularly interesting. If you'd like to find out more, I really encourage you to get the book. It's great validation for the childfree and great information for a fencesitter.


Childfree Chick said...

That is one of my FAVORITE BOOKS!

I have read it like 4 times and enjoyed more with every read.

I love how she goes into detail about how adding a child to a relationship COMPLETELY changes the chemistry of what initially brought the couple together. It makes so so much sense. Good review choice!

Ashley the Historian said...

I'm getting this book to add to my childfree library when I get paid at the end of the week! I already have "Nobody's Mother," "Childfree & Loving It!," "I Hate Other People's Kids," and "Baby Not on Board."

Kristin said...

ashley- I love Baby Not On Board, too. I'm going to have to review that one at some point!

Perfect10 said...

I have now read this book going on 2x now and I love it. I have four grown kids and had I read it before or while they were small, I might have been more prepared and knew I was not crazy when the things I thought, felt and did were somewhat normal.. I am a single mom with three boys and one girl. I have "the gene" she speaks of and love my kids but sometimes, being made to feel so guilty for so many things I did, reading it gave me a feeling of relief and puts into perspective the ups and downs and more then anything, just prepares you for parenting that we would otherwise think was just a piece of cake. Because so many people talk about the great things children bring to our lives and the joys they are and how cute and cuddly they can be (and they certainly are all these things and more). there is another side to the coin and its not meant to ward off those who plan on having kids or discourage them, but its to warn them and to prepare them to know whats about to take place and just be ready and willing to give up somethings to take on this wonderful challenge, is all.... its a great book and a must read in my opinion...