While more and more people are now opting to stay childfree, some still find it hard to understand this conscious decision. Things become even more complicated when it comes to aiming for a healthy work-life balance. You see, managers or coworkers can suddenly decide that people without kids have plenty of time on their hands to cover the less-desired shifts and work during holidays or other important events.

And this viral Twitter thread illustrates it all too well. Therapist, bestselling author and relationship expert Nedra Tawwab recently tweeted, "I don’t know who needs to hear this, but: Being childfree doesn't mean being more available," and it deeply resonated with a lot of users.

Hundreds chimed in on how their bosses or colleagues show little respect for their personal life choices. Bored Panda has collected some of the most illuminating answers frustrated workers had to share, so check them out right below. Make sure to upvote the ones you agree with and, if you have any similar stories to share, tell us about them in the comments!

Recently, Nedra Tawwab’s tweet about the struggles childfree people face at work struck a chord with many users, inspiring them to share their own experiences

Image credits: NedraTawwab

#1

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

2KMockingbird Report

Johane Moller
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My cats have human names. Eugene & Boris. According to my company I have a 3year old and a 5 year old child. They don't have to know they're felines. They are still my children

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#2

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

WilRobinson11 Report

Keo M
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Its awful that some people use their kids as excuses instead of treating them as human beings.

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Nedra Tawwab, who is also the author of Set Boundaries Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself told BuzzFeed, "People without children have become burnt out, especially during the pandemic, as they've been expected to do more. The perception is that when you don't have children, you have more time available and can therefore offer others more support."

"People must advocate for free time and challenge the expectation that they must be more flexible," she added. "It seems like a punishment to have more expected of you because you don't have children. All humans have a specific capacity to operate effectively — demanding more of people when their capacity is full doesn't increase productivity; it decreases it."

#3

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

FakeUMCDeacon Report

phil blanque
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

People who have children do it with choice. Even if a child is "unexpected"....come on...you knew the biology and the risks. So just live with your choice, and do not expect ANYONE to step in and make your life easier. It was YOUR choice....embrace it...and shut up.

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Bored Panda was curious to learn more about why the decision not to have children is often a stigmatized one, so we reached out to Erin Spurling, founder of Curiously Childfree. "I think it stems from having children being seen as 'the norm' for so long, it’s then hard for people to understand something different to that," she told us.

This is partly why she set up this childfree space, which you can also find under the handle @curiouslychildfree on Instagram. Spurling wishes that people could speak more openly about this choice and help others understand and be more accepting.

The decision not to parent is sometimes hard to grasp for people who see kids as a crucial part of having a fulfilled family. "A very prescriptive view of life has been presented for such a long time," she explained. "Life is typically seen as — grow up, get married, buy a house, have children. Lots of people don’t consider something outside of that norm."

#5

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

_celia_bedelia_ Report

Dre Mosley
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Exactly. Parents don't have a monopoly on being tired.

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#6

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

BLJankowski Report

Jes
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Your boss is a banker but with a 'w' instead of a 'b' at the beginning

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Spurling also added that non-parents are a minority, so those who have little or no interaction with childfree people can jump to conclusions or go along with stereotypes. "It’s often assumed we all choose this way of life because we’re selfish but that’s often far from the truth, and there are so many reasons."

Pew Research Center conducted a survey that found there’s a rising share of Americans who say they are unlikely to ever have kids. More than half (56%) of childless adults younger than 50 said they simply don’t want to have them. Non-parents who have other reasons stated it’s due to medical reasons (19%), financial reasons (17%), and because they do not have a partner (15%).

Around one in ten pointed out their age or their partner’s age (10%) or the state of the world (9%) is their main motivation to remain childfree, and 5% cite environmental concerns, including climate change.

#8

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

ehs06702 Report

Dina Anastasakos
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why didn't you just say No? We all have family, whether we have kids or not.

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#9

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

69ofsoulsociety Report

Pjerrot
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why did she have 2 kids if it’s SO HARD??!!!

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#10

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

ammeyerdesign Report

June
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some people choose to be childfree, period.

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#11

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

Report

The founder of Curiously Childfree told Bored Panda childfree people might also be reluctant to talk about their life choices because of the harsh critique they so often receive. "The lack of conversation about it means there are fewer opportunities for people to learn and understand," she said.

People without kids face double standards at work because they are generally viewed as having more time, no commitments, no responsibilities, and lots of flexibility, Spurling argued. "But there is also an attitude that caring for children is more important than anything a childfree person might be involved with in their life, which can be frustrating. It can make you feel like you’re not valued, your time isn’t important and your choices aren’t respected."

#12

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

DisposableHuman Report

Nikki Sevven
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is ridiculous! Other people are not required to sacrifice because you have kids and they don't. WTF? This is like saying I can't have a cookie because you're on a diet. Sod off and tend to your own knitting.

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#14

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

Karlynesublime Report

Kate Jones
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There was a AITA post on here months ago about a guy who's sister would constantly volunteer his services for babysitting her kids. This particular time was because she had a hair appointment. He flat out told her no and she ended up just showing up at his house with the kids and he saw her coming and literally hid. She then texted him how rude and inconsiderate he was and it caused this big problem in his family. It's was so entitled and ridiculous and I just don't understand why being childless means you are automatically someone's babysitter as if your time means nothing? Especially when you aren't getting paid!

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Recently, Spurling stumbled upon a job ad that stated parents got an extra week’s annual leave every year. "That could be hard to accept as a childfree person, but I would argue it might be even harder for a childless person who very much wanted to have children but then couldn’t, and now they find themselves covering the extra workload of those lucky enough to have been successful in their choice to have children."

#15

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

alexislexis333 Report

Kate Jones
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My employer asks for volunteers to work every single weekend, and I never do. When I had my review they were like 'you're very punctual and you don't call out but we'd like to see you take some shifts on the weekends here and there so it's not always the same people volunteering' and i'm like....no. I'm not working past the schedule I'm given. Why is that even being brought up at my review as a negative when I'm not required to do this? It's volunteering for a reason-- it's not required. How about you fix your scheduling problem by hiring more people that way you don't have to guilt people into working on weekends who already work 50 hours a week?

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#16

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

DianaBeeDashBee Report

Pjerrot
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It’s Strange …. People longing & wishing for Kids & a Big Family?!! When They finally get the Kids,all They do is complain about how tired & hard it is😳🤨 They want Sitters & “ Own/Me-time “!!!! What the F**k???? What’s wrong with U folks🤬 Kids are a Gift! U only have them for 18 Yrs!!! And YES!!! It is HARD,BUT 90% is Pure Love!! And Remember…. They didn’t choose to come here!!

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#17

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

NotKatieCase Report

Henry Hagens
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

17 is way past any kind of justification. It's not like you have to play with them and put them down for naps

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Spurling somewhat agrees with Tawwab’s line of thinking: "I do think it can be true that we have more flexibility. … But I don’t think that means we should be expected to cover work for those who do have children." After all, people who opt not to have kids do have commitments in other forms — second jobs, caring for relatives, volunteering, pets, hobbies, she explained.

"I think it’s important to remember that committing to any of these is someone’s personal life choice, and none of these life choices should be seen as lesser or more important than another. Each of us lives our life to reflect what we want, for some that involves children and for others it doesn’t."

#18

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

ivotelocal Report

Kate Jones
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Or worse, you do all that with the hope that when YOU need help someone would do the same for you but it's very rare for it to go both ways. They often disappear as soon as *you* need them.

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#19

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

samiamsamh Report

Ruby Sparks
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have no problem with supporting programs that benefit kids because I think as a society we should help the most vulnerable, but that also doesn't mean I'm going to trade my vacation days, Diane, just because your kids' spring break falls around the same time. I asked for it off 4 months ahead as you should have too!

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#20

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

TrixieFilms Report

Jes
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Couldn't agree more. Everyone has contracts. Don't get treated like mugs

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#21

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

likaluca Report

Pjerrot
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Allways Choose with U’r ♥️👏👏👏

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If you want to change your situation and set some healthy boundaries, Spurling advised you to stand your ground but not in a confrontational way. "When you find yourself being judged or devalued because of your choice, it can be easy to become quickly defensive in these situations but discussing it calmly will be far more helpful to both sides."

"It’s not that childfree people can’t or don’t want to help if a colleague needs to leave because a child is unwell for example, it’s about that help being a two-way street. Sticking to your own boundaries can be tough but once you start doing it, it does become easier, people will adjust and you will feel happier because you’ll be living within your own limits," she concluded.

#22

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

jfer Report

Amber.exe
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So basically unpaid labor bc two people had a baby that they wanted. That's bs,you're doing it bc they're on maternity leave,still need to pay you for that

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#23

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

Blessings208 Report

Raiden Prime
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"I have 3 kids and no money. Why can't I have no kids and 3 money?" - Homer

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#24

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

CatGwynn Report

Meg Meg
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Exactly! I enjoy being able to travel and have hobbies and not be weighed down by sticky crumb snatching little humans. I'm sick of people with kids calling me selfish for wanting a life without the burden of children. The petty jealousy of my "easy" life is laughable. Move along with your parade of children (the one at the back wondered off btw) Becky because I need to get to the wine section and you're all in my way.

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#25

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

thecorbinwarner Report

Kate Jones
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A guy I know was in a similar situation. He worked at different military posts in a civilian liaison post and he was always sent to the worst and most dangerous areas. When he turned 50 he had put in his '20' as he called it which was the length of time for this position where you can then ask for a specific assignment. He had been really excited about getting Italy and when it came up to choose, they forced him to stay where he was because someone who had a family ended up getting the spot. He can't prove it but it was so obvious. When he asked one of his former bosses (who was retired and they were friendly) why did he think he didn't get it he said Italy was more of a family-friendly location and he knew from experience that locations were chosen for people with families first and singles got the more difficult locations because if anything happened in a more violent area, there was less of a PR problem.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#26

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

JAV_writes Report

Pjerrot
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oooh.. The Classic “ One the Team “… Go F**k that Line !!! People who say that line are the Ones that never takes ONE FOR THE TEAM!!!

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#28

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

lindsayrachaelb Report

Nadine G
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This. I remember managing a few stores in my early/mid 20s. I never once asked people to do more than what their availability stated. If I needed more people, I'd hire more, or, wild thought here, I WORKED IT. As a jewelry store manager, I worked 6 days a week, usually open to close. December I didnt have a day off. When I left, I had to hire a whole new core staff, all but 1 person quit. Owners of that company used me bad. So, any manager out there acting like their employees are their personal servants need to fùcking step up and do better.

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#29

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

FakeUMCDeacon Report

Cathie Reposa
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Everytime I decline to babysit ANOTHER Grandchild, I am asked,( " why ? you have nothing to do! ) Oh, no just raising your first one isn't enough I suppose??

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#30

Childfree-Work-Availability-Double-Standards

sydtre6 Report

Conor Gilmartin
Community Member
9 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In one very cold spell a few years back, three of us who lived within a few hundred yards of each other (two on the same road) couldn’t reasonably make it into the office for a couple of days without making a 3+ hour trek each way due to heavy snow and icy roads. Another single guy and I were made to book those two days as annual leave, while HR turned a blind eye to the third person, who had two children.

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