Step one in the waters of the child-free – acknowledge your life path was a decision and theirs was too. Parents do not often acknowledge that they actually chose to have children. When frustrated, they imply that their life was imposed on them by others. This issue is tricky because some people, especially some women, are not able to choose, and in fact prevailing cultural currents suggest that having children is the only choice, or at least the right course of action. Thus, it may feel to parents that they didn’t have a choice. However, and this is an important distinction, most of the parents out there gaining sympathy for their reproductive decisions are middle class and white. They had access to contraception and abortion, and their children are indeed choices.
It might appear laughable to many parents were someone to complain about how child-free people never get to hear children giggling from the bathtub in the evening or that there is no small cute person to stand on a stool to watch or help and then lick the spoon when they bake. They would be aghast were one to grumble about caring for a dependent non-child person because they had no silky skin and no amazing baby scent. Yet they feel perfectly comfortable complaining about the effects of their choices, such as lack of sleep or messy houses or weekends lost to childish activities. While pointing out the chosen nature of their lifestyle to the parents themselves can make you less popular, it may slow down the rate of complaint. More importantly, remembering for yourself that they indeed chose this direction goes a long way to maintaining your own positive attitude in the face of repro-normativity.