Macleans: Meghan Daum on the fraught decision to stay childfree
This collection certainly refutes the notion that people without kids are somehow seriously uninterested in kids. Did you want to highlight that?
I didn’t seek it out and I did not give my contributors any guidelines; it just came up very naturally. There are a lot of kids around us. A lot of people wrote about their nieces and nephews. I work as a court-appointed special advocate in the foster-care system, and there seems to be a noticeable percentage of volunteers there who don’t have kids.
A few years ago, the acronym PANK — Professional Aunt, No Kids — became trendy, especially for marketing purposes. The Guardian called the term “a victory, of sorts,” because it suggests these women aren’t spinsters but fun ladies bearing gifts, although it still defines a woman by her relationship to kids. Is PANK any sort of victory?
I guess it’s a victory for the retailers of those products. There are so many ways to see yourself in terms of this decision, and I would never want to criticize anyone’s particular version of it. If you see yourself as an extremely generous aunt who’s always buying your nieces and nephews stuff, great. But I don’t think it’s purely a woman’s phenomenon. The reason I included men in the book is because men have so long been left out of this discussion.