…And You Don’t Have Kids???

“Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face.  You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love.

images Being childfree is a state that is even more fraught than being husband-free.  A woman who has never been married is (still) considered a bit of an oddity in our society.  A woman without kids is pitied.  A woman who chose not to have kids is…well, there’s probably something really wrong with her. Lots of people think that, though I say “is there”?

Though this blog –The Spinsterlicious Life– is mostly about women who don’t have husbands, its all-time favorite, most popular, most commented on blog post is one about, not just not having kids, but not particularly liking them! (Click here, if you want to read it).

The “I don’t like kids” blog post is strong, and even stronger than I actually feel…but it’s close enough.  It clearly touched a nerve with lots of people who mostly acknowledge that this is a sentiment they know better than to express out loud.

funcfish.com

funcfish.com

I was warned by many people that I would regret my decision to be childfree once I passed my childbearing years.  No regrets, so far. Unlike many women, I never fantasized about perfect little children with perfect days and nights. I always acknowledged that my kid (anybody’s kid, really) could grow up to be a jerk…which is a much less interesting fantasy.

And I’m a mediocre auntie, at best.  I’m fortunate that my nieces, nephews, and my friends’ kids seem to love me anyway.  And I love them; I just want them to go home.

So I was intrigued when I was asked to review a new book called Kid kid me notMe Not, edited by Aralyn Hughes. It’s an anthology of stories by women in their 60s who don’t have children.  Some made an active decision not to have them; for others, life just kind of got in the way and then it was too late. They seem fine.

I was struck by one story by a women who lost a dear friend who felt  they no longer had anything in common because one was a mother and one was not. The woman without kids was sad about this.  I said ‘good riddance’ because her friend-now-a-mother sounds pretty shallow to me, which doesn’t make for an interesting friend, anyway.

It’s interesting that women still have to explain a decision not to have children.  Kids aren’t for everyone.  How come everybody doesn’t know that?

 

 

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11 Responses to …And You Don’t Have Kids???

  1. Rose says:

    I am really enjoying your blog! I am a nursery school teacher, so I spend all day with infants and young toddlers. I love every second of it and can’t wait to be a mom, but nursery school made me realize this: Children are a heck of a lot of work, and to assume everyone needs to have a child is ridiculous! I fully support individuals who wish to remain child free. Your choice is valid and it baffles me that others have a hard time accepting this.

  2. kalli says:

    Thank you.
    I’ve always said I’d adopt, because I am not a baby person, do not hand me one, and yes I have called many quay feo baba (very ugly baby) in Spanish many times. I do not see the appeal. I do like children to a point. My husband and I decided to go through foster classes and adoption classes, got our first placement this week and I am like…what the heck is wrong? BTW, I never babysat, nor had we as a couple done the babysit/watch the kids for me thing.
    We are both good with kids but I have some health issues that warrant me not being able to take care of children full time (found that out the hard way this week). So, we put off the whole thing, still have the kid for now and I will do my darnest to see her happy, healthy and content.
    So, from one who has sorta been there, I now can say, child free is a way for me!

  3. Goddiva says:

    I turned 40 last year. No regrets. 20 years in social services it baffles me why more women dont opt out but then again when you listen to the reasns they chose to have children THESE are the people who should be interrogated! And its no wonder that when the children come the relationships done. If these women are lucky at least they can co-parent. Nothing about having children appeals to me: not pregnancy, definitely not child birth and close to 2 decades of child rearing doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies. Instead I automatically feel resentment and annoyance just thinking about it.

  4. BCAinNC says:

    I am a 47 year old woman and there is not a day that goes by that I am not happy I don’t have children. Children never interested me—I find them tedious and boring at best. I’ve always been very adamant and vocal about my decision and most people/friends have accepted it with little comment–at least not to my face lol. I think many people have children according to some life script without giving a whole lot of thought to what it involves–a lifetime commitment that basically takes over your life, for better or for worse. For me, it would be for worse and I have always known that so it was never a struggle to make that choice. There is nothing in the world more precious to me than my freedom and I have reaped the benefits of this in many ways that had I had children would not have been possible. In the end, it’s a personal choice. I think people that want to judge you for not having children just fall in the “misery loves company” category.

  5. Carol says:

    If we are ever to create a society and world that truly nurtures that freedom to become the individual expression of each unique soul/essence, we will need buckets of understanding and compassion for the many paths that are open for the taking. I always fear that the pendulum swings from one pressured social stance to the other and I hope that women will avoid this. It does take a “village” to love and nurture one generation into the next, especially while leaving open a cornucopia of opportunities and this is done best without competition or putting down. For all the talk in America of “Mom and apple pie;” all the Hallmark hype we have never really supported family. As we are now beginning to redefine all our terms, including “family,” never loose sight it is one big inclusive human family. Respect the essence of each as we bump our away along. Check out http://childfreewomen.com/ and see tab on “Other Voices”

  6. Connie Lloyd says:

    OMG I read this & it resonanted so well with me. I am child-free by choice & well pass my child-bearing age. No regrets I was chosen to be godmother to 5 (I truly believe the Mom’s chose me because they felt sorry for me because I don’t have children) :-). Boy how many times have I been asked how many kids do I have & when I say none the responses I get are either “you’re selfish or what’s wrong with you. I have gotten over it but when I was younger it really mad me mad to be called selfish or for folks to think something was wrong with me because I chose not to procreate. But now that I am older I often ask those that have kids along with the woes of the world “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU WHAT WERE YOU THINKING” IJS…….

  7. Nashieqa says:

    “How come everybody doesn’t know that?” — exactly. Someday, although probably not in our lifetime, people will stop needing or requiring other people to validate their life(style) choices. I’m okay, you’re okay.
    So, how’s the book?

  8. Amber says:

    Thank you for this! I’m also a childfree woman nearing the end of my childbearing years (no regrets here, either!), and a mediocre (but not horrible) aunt.

    I find it interesting (and a little disturbing) that parents and wannabe parents rarely consider the other side of regret: Some people regret *having* children. To me, that seems far more tragic than regretting not having children. In the former category, more people suffer. And yet they call us childfree women “selfish”!

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