I am a “woman of a certain age”. (Love that expression; it says everything…and not much at all). Never married, no kids. Spinsterlicious. And I’ve got a pretty fantastic life. I’m pretty good at dating and I have a nice career running my own consumer research and strategy company that has brought me a vacation home, an active social life, and travels around the world.
A lot of people still wonder, though, how a “fantastic life” could be possible since I haven’t done what every woman is not only supposed to do, but is apparently driven to do: marry and give birth. What’s more, I’ve done this by choice. I’m not anti-husband nor anti-child, but I don’t think they’re for everyone (really, how could anything be for everyone?), and I never felt they were for me.
For what it’s worth, I’m not the only one actively choosing not to have children. Thirty years ago, only 20% of women in their early 40s had no children; according to the US Census, that number has now doubled.
People assume that if I’m not married it must be because I couldn’t pull it off. (Not true.) But not wanting kids? There’s clearly something wrong with me. I mean, why was I given a uterus if I wasn’t going to use it? Just saying I’m not a mother, by choice, is a really good way to slow down a conversation in polite company. I don’t usually offer the “by choice” part, though, because it really shouldn’t matter. (Well, I don’t offer it unless someone comments in a way I find annoying, which is usually more of a tone thing.)
Some people –usually women– seem to take offense at my chosen child-free existence. It’s one thing if I couldn’t have them (“poor thing”), but to not want them? It’s as if I’m challenging their decision to have them. I’m not. I don’t really care about their decision. (Okay, sometimes I am curious). Every now and then I come across people who have kids but don’t seem to enjoy it, and I do find myself wondering why they bothered. Maybe they should have given it more thought.
Anyway, without further ado, I thought I’d share 14 of the 67 reasons why not having kids has worked so well for me:
- My Yorkie, Danny, whose haircuts cost more than mine, is really about all the additional responsibility I can handle. When I leave the house at a moment’s notice and stay gone all day without walking him, I call Mike-the-dogwalker and he takes care of it. People might frown if I treated my kid that way too many times.
- I can watch all kinds of inappropriate TV shows whenever I feel like it, without worrying about who I’m emotionally scarring (other than myself).
- I like to cuss. The F-word and its derivatives are some of my favorite words. It’s not cute when kids do it, though. This way, I don’t have to answer for my duplicity.
- Similarly, I can download the “explicit” version of songs from iTunes and don’t have to censor when I play them.
- If I have too much to drink, it’s okay.
- I can laze around the house all Saturday morning with the newspaper, coffee, and the remote control. No soccer games to go to.
- When I come home exhausted from work or wherever, nobody’s clamoring at me and wondering what’s for dinner. (Okay, sometimes the dog is.)
- I can give my friends on the telephone my undivided attention. I’m not (“stop it, Billy”) constantly interrupting my conversation (“no, I don’t know where it is”) to talk to others (“tie your shoes”) on my end.
- I like to walk around the house naked.
- I am able to hold a conversation without peppering it with constant references to my kids.
- Travel is one of my passions. I work hard… so I can fund my next trip. I’ve traveled throughout the U.S. to major cities and small towns, and around the world. I want to go everywhere, and I pretty much can, because my time and my money are my own. I spend my dollars however I want without having to consider if it could be better spent on my child’s braces.
- Firm-ish boobs. No stretch marks.
- I can date whoever I want without worrying about his effect on my kids. If I had kids, I would have to make more responsible choices in the men I bring home.
- In 1998, I quit my job because I decided I wanted to work for myself. (Actually, I didn’t want to work at all, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make that happen). I thought about it seriously for only a couple of weeks. Didn’t matter; I was tired of being expected to show up at work every day at 9a. Suppose I didn’t feel like starting work until 11:30a? Clearly the answer was to make my own hours. And so I did. Not having a business plan or client might have been a tad irresponsible if I’d had to consider somebody else’s welfare other than my own.