I HAPPEN TO ENJOY MY CHILD-FREE LIFE.
Today I turned 32 and it's been wonderful so far. I went to the hairdressers, grabbed lunch, did a bit of shopping, hopped over to the beauty salon for a massage, pedicure, and face peel. Then for the remainder of this week I'll be viewing properties, dining out with my friends, and putting my feet up with a book, maybe a good ol' series — pure bliss! As I appreciate another year of life, I can honestly say that I feel so content with where I am, with what I have, and who I am.
RATHER YOU THAN ME!
So I have a family WhatsApp group and when I told them how I'd be celebrating my birthday, one of my sisters (I have two sisters, they both have two kids) poked fun saying: "Lady of leisure, you're always treating yo-self! I haven't had a massage in agessss!" And the other day my brother-in-law spoke to me about planning a 2022 family holiday and asked if I wanted to join, I said to him: "Probably not, if I'm going anywhere it'll be the Maldives so I can fully relax and tan in peace!" he laughed and responded with: "You've been on loads of luxury holidays, don't you want to hang out with the kids and build sandcastles with them? They'd want their favourite Aunty to come along." (Sorry but no thanks 😐) — nevertheless, those comments got me thinking... as much as I adore my nieces and nephews, as much as I love seeing my sisters and their husbands be amazing parents; I don't envy the limited time they have for... well, practically anything! Cooking, eating, sleeping, getting ready, working, travelling, relaxing, ugh the list goes on! Suddenly I felt inspired to write this post. The other trigger was hearing one of my mother's eye-rolling statements when probing me about my dating life (as always!) During our conversation we discussed my disinterest in having kids, to which she exclaimed: “But who will look after you when you get old?!?" — *chest tightens* ermm.... first of all, that's not a reason to have children!!! 🙄 Before I continue on, I want to express that this piece is more to normalise my own feelings as I believe many people feel the same as I do, but nobody really talks about it. I don't want to enrage people with this subject and I don't want to come across as insensitive. I'm not by any means criticising anyone else's life decisions; I think children are cute, hilarious, and I can see why they'd light up people's worlds. Lastly, I know many people who've struggled with infertility. I can't imagine what that feels like and if that is you, please know I am sending you nothing but love and support.
CHILDLESS BY CHOICE
I've never said "never" to having kids but the idea of having them doesn't excite me in the slightest nor am I not desperate to be around them. I feel like there's a lot of pressure to conform to society's idea of "success" and I do think that getting married and having children are part of the milestones. Whenever the topic comes up, some people are shocked when they hear my lack of enthusiasm. Those who have or want children sometimes seem offended by it. Others go for the clichés whether it's: "It'll be different when you have your own!", "Wait until your biological clock starts ticking!", “If you don’t have them, you’ll regret it.” Will I??? You sure about that? 🤨 Also... excuse me but just because I'm a woman, that doesn't mean I have to be baby crazy. In my opinion, having a child is the biggest, most life changing decisions a person can make. It's a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly, and definitely not the default route to go down! I'm sure there are people who ended up having a child/children for the wrong reasons, with that in mind, you really have to weight up the costs emotionally and financially. Child-free or not, you can be fulfilled with either lifestyle. Personally, I love my impromptu breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinners. It's fantastic being able to spontaneously book a quick weekend getaway or treat myself to a lazy ass Sunday doing absolutely nothing but stay under my duvet binging on a new Netflix series until stupid hours of the morning. I'm not saying you can't enjoy life when you have kids but let's be real; there's a whole set of new responsibilities that come along with it and a returns policy is non-existent I'm afraid. Here are some other things worth mentioning on why it's okay to not want children...
FRIEND: "HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAS THIS MINDSET?" — YES. Remember primary school days when the kids used to play "Mummies and daddies"? Yeah, I never really got involved. I didn't play with baby dolls growing up, and in my young adolescent years, I didn't fantasise about my dream wedding, how many kids I wanted by X age or baby names. Even now in my early 30s if I see a cute baby, yeah I'll smile but I've not once felt broody. I have girlfriends and cousins who've described a longing for all of the above which I find interesting because I've never experienced that. If anything, I think my conviction on this has only gotten stronger over the years.
CHILDREN ARE EXPENSIVE.
In the first year alone, you can spend thousands on a baby. From nappies to bottles then moving up to school supplies, game consoles, external classes (ie. swimming lessons, martial arts, piano lessons, tutoring, etc), then maybe saving for private/higher education. It all adds up! For at least 18 years, children will rely on their parents for all their needs. It's a huge financial, not to mention, emotional responsibility! In today's economy raising children is far from cheap so I applaud those who have many children and make it work! Children might not be where you want your money to go... and I totally understand. Where your money is spent is entirely your decision.
YOU NEED TO MAKE SACRIFICES.
Lord knows how grateful I am to my parents, and exceptional parenting deserves plenty of praise and respect. I know it takes a great deal of selflessness, patience, will, wallet, schedule... basically a lot of sacrifice! If someone doesn't want to be or sacrifice any of those things then they probably do not and should not want to start a family. Again, it doesn't make them a bad person. While the media, family members, and peers might make people feel that way sometimes, they are not obligated to compromise their lives by having children. If you're reading this, remember that your wants and needs in life are different than mine, and mine are different from those of others. We're all on our unique journeys so trust your gut and do whatever makes you feel happy and alive! FRIEND: "BUT YOU'LL MAKE SUCH A GREAT MOTHER!" I'm flattered but not swayed so I think I'll just stick with the awesome aunty duties and happily give the kiddos back after a few hours of making play-doh cakes, dressing up as a mermaid, playing hide and seek or doctors and nurses! I don't know about you but I'm already fed up after entertaining children for two hours.
I'm really happy with my life and every year it seems to get better and better! Maybe one day I'll suddenly meet a great guy and things will change, maybe I'll find a partner who loves the same things as I do and we end up going on adventures for the rest of our lives, or perhaps I'll still be doing my own thing with a dog by my side... who knows! But what I do know is that as long I continue to follow the path towards happiness, I know I'll be just fine.
"Everybody with a womb doesn't have to have a child any more than everybody with vocal cords has to be a singer." - Gloria Steinem