International Childfree Day

By Victoria Fryer 

As I write this, on August 1, it is International Childfree Day—a day when the childfree are “allowed” to celebrate their status as nonparents.

The history of the—what should I call it? a holiday?—began in 1973, when the National Organization for Non-Parents, today known as the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood celebrated a day called Non-Parents Day. The festivities organized by the group was covered by the New York Times in an article called, “A King and a Queen, but There Are No Princes or Princesses in Sight,” which you can still read, if you’re interested, but do have to pay a small fee for.

It was around this period of time when more people began choosing a childfree lifestyle, and the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood worked to educate the public that this is a viable option. After generations of couples felt as if becoming parents was the natural next step in their lives, whether it was something they particularly wanted or not, the organization attempted to normalize the decision to remain without children.

Forty years later, some key folks in today’s childfree community brought the celebration back as International Childfree Day, which has been celebrated on August 1 since 2013.

And why not? Mothers get a day. Fathers get a day. Mothers and Fathers Day are often criticized as contrived holidays to sell more greeting cards, flowers, ties, and who knows what else. In addition, these days—without a viable alternative for the childfree—often add to the marginalization we often feel in society for not having children. As if only the decision to become parents is cause for celebration, and not our own choices to follow a different path.

International Childfree Day includes a call for nominations for the Childfree Man/Woman of the Year. The selection criteria includes contributions to society as well as to the acceptance of the childfree lifestyle.

I’ve never felt a personal need to celebrate my status as a childfree woman. I ‘celebrate’ every day by changing no diapers, dealing with only my own temper tantrums and meltdowns, and working late or engaging in a last minute happy hour when the mood strikes me. Today, I’m ‘celebrating’ by joining two other couples in a kayak trip down the Susquehanna River—without worry that any children who might otherwise be attending will tip their vessels and drown. (What can I say, I’m an anxious worrywart.)

But I certainly see the value in celebrating people who contribute to the increasing acceptance and normalization of the childfree lifestyle. The more we can communicate to society that we’re just normal people with different inclinations, that we’re not selfish hedonists, the better. So to those folks, I salute you!

Did you know about International Childfree Day? If so, how did you celebrate?

Victoria Fryer is a 31-year-old writer and content strategist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two pit bulls. You can find her on Twitter @extoria.

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