A friend of mine recently had her first child. Not long after she joined a group for new mums to share experiences and swap tips, and to just generally enjoy the company of other women who can relate to her lack of sleep, dirty nappies and breastfeeding problems.

The thing I'm wondering is: is that OK? I mean, is there a place for such a group? It sounds a bit pretentious. And why exclude non-mothers? How selfish! What a terrible public message to send.

My guess is after a few meetings these mums will discover how boring and pointless their lives are, and realise they've all made a terrible mistake.

Put down your pitchforks, everyone, I'm joking. No reasonable person would say such things about a parenting group, that would be ridiculous.

Yet it seems plenty were happy to make those exact comments about another social group that launched this week – one for non-parents.

As reported by The Advertiser, “No Kids, No Worries” is a new Adelaide meet-up group specifically for people without children.

Its founder, 34-year-old Ben Mahoney, started it as a way to meet and form friendships with other child-free people.

A social group for people who want to meet other, similar people. Sounds pretty fair to me.

For some reason it didn't sound fair to quite a few others, who posted their disgust on Facebook and on The Advertiser's website.

“The meaning of life is to reproduce. Therefore this guy has no real value to the world,” wrote Michael.

“Start your silly little social group. It'll be a fad and die within a week when people realise how pretentious and stupid they look,” wrote Aaron.

Karina declared it “the 'selfish club'”, while one reader called Norah went completely off the rails with this comment, which should be read with red face and eyes bulging for the full effect: “Are you enjoying life Ben Mahoney or would you rather your mother had your outlook on life and remained childless?????”

“I think it sends a terrible public message,” someone tweeted when I voiced my support for the group.

Just exactly what that message is I'm not sure, because they never elaborated.

But as a 33-year-old woman in a long term heterosexual relationship without a child, I can tell you the subtext of all of this angst: people who don't have kids are selfish and mean and living pointless lives.

At least, that seems to be the perception of a lot of parents who simply can't imagine a life without their glorious offspring bringing sunshine into their world every day.

What they don't seem to understand is that someone choosing not to have children is not an attack on those who do, and wanting to join a child-free social group doesn't mean you hate kids.

For me, as someone who has begun to lose most of their friends to children, all it means is you'd like to hang out with some people your own age who are occasionally bloody available.

I'm at the stage in life where mates who used to come over for dinner parties or go out to the pub on a whim now have to be booked a month in advance so they can arrange a babysitter, and then they have to be home by 11pm.

Even when they can make it out they're often so frazzled they'd rather stay home with a bottle of red and the television on, no visitors please.

It probably levels out later in life but in your early 30s at least, without any child-free friends, you're rather own your own, socially speaking.

Unlike Mr Mahoney I'm not against the idea of having children myself. But we do share a common view: when all of your friends have joined a club that you're not a part of, what's wrong with forming your own?


First published in The Advertiser August 8, 2014.